Don’t waste money – get your facts right first!

I recently had a meeting with a prospective not-for-profit client. Due to my long-standing experience working with not-for-profits they were interested to work with Creative but were already working to a strategy. They thought this strategy was going well until they attended an industry event the week prior: and became dismayed at the level of knowledge people had about their organisation; the purpose of their organisation was not well known, people had an awareness of who they were but were misinformed on what they actually did and who they provided services for.

This got them thinking: “This event was attended by people in our sector, and they didn’t have the right idea of who we are and what we do… If this is the case, then what does wider New Zealand think? And therefore are we wasting money? ”

This prospective client was worried. They were working to a marketing strategy and thought it was going ok, but it transpired that this strategy was based on the assumptions of the management team rather than base-line facts.

It’s fine to have theories and hypotheses, but for our campaigns, communications and advocacy to be effective it’s important to test these out first before we take action. Marketing is not an exact science. Further to this, design (especially) is subjective; its popularity is often based on personal preferences, likes, dislikes, and opinions. That’s why it’s really important to try and seek as much factual information as you can BEFORE roll out.

How do you get the facts?

By carrying out some market research. Don’t be turned off by this term, as market research does not need to be complicated, costly or time-consuming. We regularly help our clients to gain knowledge and insight through simple and structured interviews, focus groups and surveys. You might be surprised at how simple this process can be, and the nuggets of gold you can uncover could be game-changing. It may be one small comment or theme that will change your whole approach and make all the difference.

I see market research being most useful at two different phases in a project:

  1. At the beginning when you’re just starting out and trying to learn a bit about your audiences, their motivations and perspectives. If you’re launching a campaign or going through a rebrand, insight will jumpstart the project and inform a clear direction.
  2. Midway through a project using research as a form of testing before you go the whole hog and launch. Feedback at this stage will help you make decisions and help you understand if this new branding, key messaging or campaign concept is going to resonate with the people that you’re trying to reach.

If you’re concerned about whether you’re working to the facts and would like to consider carrying out some market research please give me a yell. By the way, the prospective client mentioned above is now a client and we’ve got a good plan on the go!

Julia Kay

[email protected]

021 423 189

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About the author

Julia has owned Creative Marketing since 2007 and has over twenty years’ industry experience. She strongly believes that marketing is not about spending money for no return; rather it’s about doing the right things to get the right results. Her goal is to make marketing a breeze for her clients.