As a marketing agency, we are engaged in research on a continual basis for our clients and their specific marketing components, channels and content. For us this is normal and a constant, required activity that we are always doing. Yet marketing research is something that many of our new clients and/or prospective customers seem to be confused about, at least when we first begin working with them.

Is research really important in marketing?

What if I told you that we spend between 1 and 4 hours of research for every piece of content we write for a client? What if you knew that we also spend between 25 and 80 hours of marketing research for new clients before we even develop their integrated digital marketing strategy, design a single graphic, write a line of code for their website or even begin writing content for their web pages?

Why would we spend so much time conducting research before even beginning to do any work that our clients pay us to execute for them?

Well, the answer to that question is the basis for this entire article and goes well beyond a one line response. If you do not understand the role of research within digital marketing, you are often going to be throwing good money after bad and waste an exorbitant amount of needless time chasing your tail.

In marketing, research ensures you are gaining ground in everything you do!

Marketing Research Is Important

Today, marketing research is the foundation on which all great digital marketing is built. In digital marketing it is imperative that you verify what you think you know and also know what you actually do not yet know. Without proper and in-depth research on your industry, competitors, product and target customer, you will be shooting from the hip with your digital marketing efforts.

When research is done properly, it gives you brand access to knowledge and insights about your market that are extremely valuable. These insights provide details and information that is crucial to understanding your audience, their pain points and where the market opportunities are within your industry. Each individual research component can open key messaging, targeting and other marketing elements that can produce invaluable data for your marketing effort. Combining all of your various research together will give your brand a story it can use in all components of your marketing program.

Marketing Research Establishes Correlations

Some of your marketing research should drive correlations to other things, which together provide insight that can be acted on, or at least used to further develop marketing strategy or spur additional research. These correlations can help you understand your target customer better as well as identify further opportunities that you had not considered previously.

Examples of effective marketing research correlations:

Here are just a few examples of effective marketing research correlations that you may uncover through various marketing research that could be extremely valuable. Without conducting the proper research, you might never realize that these effective correlations existed.

– Your target customer tends to remain focused on a specific price point, when they already own/use another product.

– Customers that use one product, also tend to purchase another type/brand of product or service.

– Your target customer who has a non-competing product are also purchasing something from your direct competitor.

Not All Marketing Research Correlations Are Helpful

It’s extremely important to be aware that not all marketing research correlations are useful. In fact, some very definitive correlations can actually be harmful false positives that end up pushing your marketing in directions that are not at all warranted. While researching this blog post we came across some quite hilarious examples of correlations that seem to be dead on connections, until you take the time to read what is being correlated. Here are some humorous examples of correlations that will not help your digital marketing results.

Do Nicolas Cage and drownings have important connections?

Is there an important correlation between margarine and divorce in Maine?

Though these actual correlations can be a source of great entertainment, you have to remember that similar correlations can be discovered through your marketing research. So, the point here is that you can’t just take any correlation you derive from your research without taking it a bit further. You need to test the correlations you uncover to prove that they are in fact helpful and relevant. You have to make sure that the connections you uncover are helpful and real.

Research Has An Important Role In Marketing

If your brand is developing a new digital marketing strategy, refining your current marketing focus or just working on a blog post, research should be a significant part of your process. The data and insights that come from proper research will validate your messaging, improve your strategy and lead you to better overall results. Taking the time to research important elements of your industry or target customer well before you take part in executing any marketing execution components should better guide your efforts to better content, strategy and revenue.

What marketing research is your brand missing?