Tips for More Effective Research

This blog was originally published in March 2018.

As any good marketer knows, research should be at the core of everything you do. Sometimes you need to research the product you’re selling, sometimes you need to research who your audience for a product or service is, sometimes you need to research  your audience itself, the list goes on and on.

However, a lot of people know that research is necessary and they attempt conduct it whenever possible, but sometimes, we can do research in the wrong way. Here are a few simple things to avoid when conducting research so you can make sure you’re staying on the right track.

Make sure you’re researching the right audience

When conducting your own research, it can be very easy to get so caught up in the challenge of information gathering that you forget to ask yourself if you’re actually collecting information from the correct group of people. A great example of a company completely missing the mark on this comes from Tourism Australia.

Tourism Australia was trying to create a campaign that would entice a broader worldwide audience to visit Australia and help grow their booming tourism industry. The company wanted to provide its audience with a uniquely Australian invitation to come visit their country. However, the one mistake Tourism Australia made when conducting their research was that they included a lot of Australians in their research for the campaign. This resulted in the campaign’s tag line being, “Where the bloody hell are you?”  Obviously other countries had some issues with this.

Many of the campaign’s target audiences included people who found this phrase to be very offensive. Television commercials created by Tourism Australia that featured Aussies saying this tagline were blocked in several of Tourism Australia’s targeted nations as they were deemed inappropriate. This led to Tourism Australia losing millions of dollars on this failed campaign. Thus, demonstrates the importance of gathering your information from the correct sources because sometimes it can cost millions.

Look for secondary research you can apply to your situation

It’s a misconception that you always need to put out a survey or find some other way of generating novel information for whatever situation you may be researching. While this can be necessary, it’s also very important to have a heavy focus on looking for secondary research. If you’re unfamiliar with this term, secondary research is research that has already been conducted for something else, but it is still applicable to your situation.

One of the biggest benefits of secondary research is that it already exists so you don’t have to do any more work than finding and reading articles, and secondary research is (usually) free to access! This can be a valuable tool that is often overlooked because as marketers, we often jump on the idea that we need another customer survey or another focus group and money ends up being spent when it may not need to be. Sometimes a simple google search can tell you everything you want to know about your target audience.

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AboutReid Smith

Reid Smith is the Marketing Communications Specialist with Proforma. He brings with him experience in copywriting, editing and content creation for print, digital and social media platforms. Reid graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Science in Advertising. In his free time, Reid enjoys playing football, reading fantasy novels and cheering on his Cleveland Browns!

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