Friday, July 6, 2012

Research is Meaningless Without...


I can't tell you how many times I've seen a good marketing or public relations plan be put into place and fail miserably despite countless hours of research put into it. 

I've been part of teams that have spent days studying, planning, listening and digesting pages and pages of information regarding a target public, only to develop a strategy or campaign that fell short of expectations or paled in comparison to the competition.

We researched. We listened. We learned. We knew our audience, but we still didn't identify the ingredient that would capture our audience's attention. Why is that? Think on this.

If research was enough, every competing strategy would reach a stalemate. After all, if doing the work and knowing the audience was enough, how would your conclusions based on that research differ from someone else's? It seems obvious, but we often fall into the trap of believing that information begets a good strategy.

Our conclusions make all the difference. So, we've learned that baby boomers are the most prosperous generation yet but are the most prone to depression. What does that mean? Often, we skip a step when determining what our insight into a group of people means. As jaded strategists who make quick decisions every day, we often lose our acute sense of empathy that made us want to be in the business we're in, whether you're a PR rep, creative director, or even an entrepreneur.

You can know everything about your target. What they eat. Where they eat. How they eat. Where they shop at. How much money they have to spend there. That's just information that leads to guesswork. While there will never be a concrete science to perfect branding, we have something infinitely better: empathy. 

Why do they eat there? How is it different from anywhere else? Why do they shop there? The other brand has lower prices, but our brand has this and this. 

Instead, we focus on gimmicks and toys we find on social media channels that we just "know" will make our target listen...but they don't. They ignore us because they don't feel known. They feel like someone is talking at them, or worse, stalking them for a sale. 

The next time your team comes up with a strategy based on a ton of research and development, ask yourselves: why will this make them listen? If it is something as simple as: because our research shows that they like--Stop there. 

Jon Negroni is the Director of Public Relations, Promotion, and Marketing at Richter10.2 Media Group. For more information regarding Richter10.2, check out our introduction video here.



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