Research is invaluable for taking the pulse of your marketplace. However marketers must be careful to use research for guidance and not justification. Depending on the research task, a marketer might hire a research company or they might do it themselves by talking directly to customers. Websites, e-mail lists and on-line forums offer easy ways to conduct fast surveys or opinions.
Every business should conduct research to learn something that will assist them in their marketing. It could be something about their customers or prospects, company, brand, product or service, advertising, new market opportunities, trends, attitudes, or any number of variables that affect a business. Research is also one of the best ways to find out what customers and prospects want so marketers can design their business to deliver it to them more profitably.
Not many people have the ability to predict the future accurately. If someone says they can predict a response rate, they are most likely lying or trying to win your business, or both.
The best you can do is test a campaign. Once you have reliable test results, you can then say with some certainty, that if you send a specific message to a specific audience - similar to the test group - then the likelihood will be that the results will be the same.
Depends on the objective of the communication. Measurement may be as simple as leads generated by phone, or hits on a website, or sales. Or it could be a shift in attitude towards a brand, or likelihood to buy a specific brand in the future.
Unfortunately most marketers only do half the job when measuring results. Traditional brand advertisers only measure consumer attitudes based on whether they have seen a particular advertisement. They don't take into account all the other influencing factors on a brand. For example, did the customer receive a mailing, an e-mail newsletter, telephone call or other contact. Did the consumers visit a website, or a retail store? All these other contact points and the experiences associated with them, impact consumer attitudes towards brands.
Traditional direct marketers only measure half the results as well. They usually just measure the response rate of a campaign, but don't measure the impact on the brand such as the consumer attitudes towards the brand a s a result of receiving a mailing, or e-mail or telephone call.
Make sure that whatever is measured, the results are analysed and acted upon. Why measure something if the results aren't going to be acted on?
Primary research, is conducted person-to-person in the field, over the telephone, via the mail, on a website or by e-mail.
Secondary research, is conducted at a desktop using information and reports generated by others.
Primary research involves sourcing data directly from the marketplace. There are two main types of primary research:
a) Qualitative research, used to research people's attitudes and perceptions.
b) Quantitative research, used to generate facts in the form of numbers, which are used to quantify anything that can be measured.
Secondary research is conducted at a desktop. It is the type of research that can be conducted by anyone, using material available in the public domain. This material can be obtained from the internet, libraries, industry associations, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, annual reports and corporate publications, trade journals, specialist on-line services, chambers of commerce, consuls, government departments and many other sources. It is often a good way to obtain raw data about markets, trends, facts and figures, and is always a good way to start if there is no market information is available.