Research isn’t THAT Scary!

With a tip of the hat to Halloween, I thought I would write about something so scary that it makes many marketers hyperventilate and shake uncontrollably.

Can you name the four words that strike fear (or at least shuddering yawn attacks)  among marketers worldwide?  The four words can cause sweaty palms and shaking limbs, and can make even the best and most enthusiastic professional marketers look for the nearest wooden stake to bury into the heart of the beast.

Copious and Detailed Research

Say those four words, and you can almost feel teeth chattering and hands shaking.  Those words chill us to the bone because, frankly, not that many of us care for doing research, especially “creative marketers” who want to stretch their brain cells on ideas, not numbers.  Yet it is research, fact-based research, that is most effective in determining where and how to spend your marketing dollars.  And that’s all about marketing smarter!

Years ago, before Northwestern University seemed capable of recruiting a “real” college football team, the Wildcats’ fans would stand in frustration near the end of yet another blow-out loss and shout:

“Laugh now.  Someday you’re gonna work for us!”  The implication was obvious — they didn’t have much of a football team because they were actually students and smarter than the jocks.  They would have the lower score after four quarters, but they’d win in the game of life and careers.  Being “smarter” can still work to your advantage.

You can defeat the big guys by competing and marketing smarter.  Here’s how we at Johnson Direct employ the “smarts” to help clients achieve remarkable results while spending less.

Too many companies attempt to market their products without using real data as the basis for decisions.  I submit that as marketers, our responsibility lies in guiding our clients through a sophisticated approach that yields real knowledge of their core markets.  What do they absolutely need to know to achieve the greatest degree of success?

We take fact-based research and combine it with our own proprietary approach, Direct Branding ™, to achieve unparalleled market penetration and success.  It takes a little longer to do the research, but pays big dividends in the long haul.

Companies need to understand their own customer base, what their customers look upon as the company’s brand “promise,” and, importantly, which markets to spend money in.  These are key factors that will influence messaging down the road when it is time to communicate with customers and potential customers.

Outsmarting the competition requires perseverance, courage, patience and wit.  If you’re ready to face this battle, be prepared to sink more time, resources and intellectual blood, sweat and tears into a new, smarter and more competitive game plan.

Our philosophy is to provide fact-based analysis that helps managers to answer the questions that make or save money by more effectively and efficiently allocating resources based on relative market potential.

For one client, we used highly detailed techniques in the data collection process, including where, geographically, the best potential existed to sell their products.  They had been attempting to sell in 49 states; yet our research revealed that they were drawing 80 percent of their sales in only 23.  Nine states, alone, were yielding more than 50 percent.

We examined all 3,141 counties in the US and determined that our client had 12 heavy concentrations  of sales in the country.  Based on that “copious and detailed research,” we recommended that they utilize layered decision-making to allocate their resources to those areas where there was greater profit probability and potential.  As a result, they suspended marketing activities in six states all together.  Fifteen states were chosen as having a very high chance of generating strong response to marketing efforts and another 14 were identified as having a high chance.

Consequently, this client has experienced a response-to-conversion rate that has increased from 5% to 8%.  That may not seem like much on the surface, but given both dollars from current sales and continued lifetime purchases, this client is looking at millions in new revenue.  They are able to compete aggressively with larger companies that outspend them by as much as 50 percent by marketing to areas where they now know people are most likely to want and buy their products.

Creative played an important part in communicating to those people, of course.  But no creative would have been successful at selling the client’s products if it wasn’t relevant to the customer.  And only fact-based research makes that degree of relevancy possible.

Remember, while this approach is greatly effective and certainly the hallmark of Johnson Direct, there are new ways being developed every day to compete smarter.  Be open to them.  Don’t be afraid to try something new.

Copious and Detailed Research

Now, that isn’t that scary, is it?

Grant Johnson

Johnson Direct LLC