Why Research?

If you watch “Mad Men,” you’ve seen the show’s lead, Don Draper, make eloquent speeches about how creativity trumps sterile facts when it comes to pitching a product or concocting a message. It’s something you sense in your gut; you know when you’ve hit the right note because it just feels right.

A good marketing plan does rely on that gut feeling. Most of our clients certainly have a good sense of how to appeal to their target audiences.

But, a better marketing plan doesn’t take that gut feeling for granted. The most successful marketing plans tend to be a combination of art and science, gut feelings backed up by research. Here are a few reasons to prop up those gut feelings with black and white numbers:

  • Confirm your suspicions: Do you think you know why sales are falling on your formerly best-selling product or service? You might, but it’s better to understand what’s actually behind that drop. Research can tell you whether you just need to tweak your messaging, or whether it’s time to get out and get out fast.
  • Justify your actions: We all answer to someone: sales managers to vice presidents, vice presidents to presidents, presidents and owners to stakeholders. Having numbers to back up your instincts gives you justification for your actions.
  • Efficient processes: Creative people can come up with many paths to a desired destination. Research can streamline the planning process by eliminating the routes that don’t make sense.

Research can take many forms: simple quantitative surveys, direct qualitative interviews, complex market analyses and more. Time, budget, importance relative to other tasks…lots to take into account when choosing how to gather data. Don’t ignore your gut, but don’t let it take over, either.

Here’s one example of how a TRG client benefited from looking at numbers that were already there for analysis.

“Mad Men Season 6 In Care Of – John Hamm Don Draper And His Fall” flickr photo by zennie62 https://flickr.com/photos/zennie62/9123196971 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license

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