The Importance of Research in the Advertising Process
How Research Can Help Your Marketing and Advertising
Anyone in the ad industry will tell you the job induces a full range of emotions from excitement, stress, anxiety, to pure happiness. It’s the craziness of advertising which draws us to the industry and why we love the business. There is never a similar hour, day or week. The work is not repetitious nor mundane; it’s invigorating! Throughout the day you wear many hats supporting multiple clients, with advertising elements that are in completely different stages of development.
In advertising, the process always starts with understanding the clients’ business problems – you need to listen first and act second to develop creative and media solutions that drive results. No challenge is too big or small for our Agency team. We approach each situation with the same attention as if the budget were our own; we are a true partner in every sense of the word.
One of my favorite steps in the ad process is research, especially quantitative and qualitative studies. My team will attest that I geek out over this. The insights gleaned through research allow you to develop sound marketing and advertising strategies based on true consumer input and feedback.
Let’s talk about the difference between quantitative and qualitative research and more importantly how they can complement each other.
Qualitative research involves understanding consumer motivation through close observation typically in small groups either face-to-face or online. The groups provide a way to have detailed conversations around a topic or stimulus for deeper understanding and insights. Qualitative research also allows us to test multiple creative concepts that can turn great campaigns into amazing campaigns, by allowing the advertising team to connect with individuals in a personal setting to gather:
- Initial reactions to creative concepts
- Detail on message resonance and key consumer takeaways
- Engagement from the participant
- Opinions that can lead to insights/new ideas
Quantitative research refers to the process of collecting a large amount of numerical data through surveys, questionnaires and polling methods. Quantitative research can be particularly useful at the beginning of the advertising process to understand the state of your business and to measure if you are “moving the needle” based on your collective advertising and communication efforts. Here are a few ways you can use quantitative research:
- Measurement of brand metrics (e.g., brand awareness, affinity, sentiment, consideration)
- Competitive positioning
- Advertising recall and impact towards shopping behaviors
- Media consumption by marketing type and segment
- Creative concept scoring
Typically, a robust and complete market research effort involves both quantitative and qualitative methods, since they both offer valuable perspectives and can be combined to generate actionable insights. Often market research is complemented with digital performance… but that’s a topic for another day.
The right mix of research and analytics is based on the unique needs for business decision making, desired impact, timeframe, scope, and budget. The ability to hear directly from your target audience is invaluable and should be integral to your marketing and advertising plans. In my opinion, it’s a must-have.