A Little Research Goes a Long Way

Marketing leaders – whether they work in a small non-profit or a Fortune 100 company – often have one thing in common: they have no idea how far a little research could take them.

Imagine you are the director of enrollment services (i.e., admissions) for a college where undergraduate enrollment has been slipping. Now imagine how the future (and your blood pressure) might change if someone handed you a report that told you exactly what your prospective students think of your brochures, your website, the campus tour experience and your promotional videos. What if the report had a matrix of dos and don’ts for everything from website architecture to design styles to paper preferences among high school students in your target profile? And what if the report had 12 affordable, actionable recommendations that could turn around your enrollment problem before the start of the next academic year?

I, for one, imagine you’d love to get your hands on that report.

But maybe you don’t work in higher education. You’re thinking:

• “I own a small consulting firm and I need to secure more speaking engagements, more clients and more repeat business. Do you have a report for that?”

• Or “Our company sells women’s shoes and we are trying to attract more young professionals to our store in downtown Dallas. Is there a report that will tell me how to do that?”

• Or “We are a business-to-business (B2B) company that provides roofing supplies to home builders. We are trying to determine whether to grow our business in its home region or to open offices and hire a sales force elsewhere. Is there a report for that?”

Yes, there’s a report for all that … and more. You see, whether you sell widgets or consulting services, shingles or peak-toe pumps, the health of your business should not be left to chance. Why guess about the profile of the ideal customer, the packaging color that would turn heads and open wallets, or which intersection in Wichita offers the best opportunity for foot traffic into your next brick-and-mortar retail location?

If you’re like most marketers, you’re smart and talented but you’re wasting a lot of time and money on guesswork. You deploy direct-mail campaigns with language and offers that your copywriter thinks are interesting (brilliant even!); but unless you’re selling your product or service to a target market of copywriters, it’s probably about time you found out what your actual customers care about. You’ve probably developed products with features that the customers don’t need and aren’t willing to pay for. Why?

You need some “tough love” from someone who’s been in your shoes as a marketing professional or business owner ― someone who’s not afraid to tell you where you’ve gone astray and how to get back on the straight and narrow path to increased revenues. Ask yourself this: “Why are we continuing to treat marketing communications like a crap shoot instead of harnessing the insights of the marketplace?” In truth, marketing is as much science as it is art. And it’s high time you quit finger painting like an amateur.

Small Investments, Big Results

But isn’t market research expensive? Isn’t it time consuming? Won’t a valuable effort to glean some market insights just distract you from finishing that series of banner ads that’s due tomorrow or editing your annual report or preparing for the big industry trade show? Only if you partner with the wrong marketing strategists.

At Silver Tree Communications, our approach fits your needs and garners insights you can use. We won’t leave you with a big dusty binder full of ideas you can’t afford to execute. We won’t hand over spreadsheets without elucidating the stories inside the data. We won’t share “ah-ha!” discoveries without actionable recommendations for growing your bottom line.

There are few things I hate more than a marketing plan that’s built on a wing and a prayer. I think you deserve better. Quit guessing, and get answers. Make data-driven decisions that will make your cash register ring.

In the past few years, we’ve conducted market research studies big and small, simple and complex, frugal and pricy. The results? Big. In every single case. We’ve had the honor of working with Fortune 100 brands, hospitals and healthcare systems, and top-tier universities on market research projects that will inform their day-to-day activities for years to come.

Research comes in many forms, and we’re experienced in conducting it all:

• Surveys (online and paper based)
• Focus groups
• Interviews
• Structured observations
• Competitive scans

How to Get Started

Finish the following sentence about your business: “If we only knew … , we’d have more business than we could ever imagine.” What’s your ellipsis? Don’t know how to make your product appeal to customers aged 18-25? Don’t know whether patients are more likely to schedule their annual mammogram if you send a postcard or an email? Don’t know whether your Memorial Day Sale would attract more serious buyers for furniture if you offered a 15% off coupon or a drawing for a free sofa?

Once you know what you don’t know, you’re ready to start investigating. And we’re here to help.

Even the most strategic of marketers tend to lose sight of the value of a little research. And even if a market research initiative is on your radar, you likely don’t know where to start. What’s more, I’m guessing there’s no one on your staff with expertise in focus group facilitation or survey instrument development. That’s okay – we’ve got you covered.

Regardless of your industry or budget, the news is good. Business intelligence is yours for the taking – get your hands on your share, and begin reaping the business results. “Yes, there’s a report for that.” And we’d be happy to write it for you.

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