The importance of research is unparalleled in every stage of life, business or otherwise. In the advertising world, the research stage is the indispensable primary step to any copy, design or campaign; it’s what gives you all the insights you need to shape your creative communication.
Yet, most of us out there undervalue the research process and do a shoddy job of it; rushing it to get what is deemed as ‘just enough’. The results are painfully unsurprising; a lack of response from the audience despite quality content or average content itself. Not to mention the multiple roadblocks faced due to ineffective research. Waste of time, efforts and invariably, money.
Read the pointers below and honestly ask yourself if these actions have formed a part of your regular research process:
- Create a hypothesis based on your experiences and limited knowledge, using only the Google database to try to broaden your horizons
- Ask leading questions in the form of a survey that only serves the purpose of confirming your assumptions.
- Once you have data to back up your assumptions, use that as the basis to shape communication.
Half-baked theories and not being able to anticipate any real results!
Contemplate on it for some time though and you will understand the elements your research is lacking. Most of us will notice these common themes, or perhaps the lack of them:
- A broader perspective
- Views of those who know better about the field
- Points that you lost because you asked objective or close-ended questions to only conform to your assumptions
If you are reading this, it must be a part of your research to improve your entire research process. Yes, that sentence was confusing, but the method written below might provide you with some inputs on how to go about it:
Strategies are based on behaviour. So, instead of questioning people to confirm your theories, start by going to people with an open mind, with the objective of collecting as much data as possible. Open ended questions give you things you may not have known.
Create customer profiles or personas. This will help categorise different behavioural patterns according to situations and other criteria in the long run. It also creates a data base that gives you a better understanding for a range of customers for different kinds of industries.
Base your research, and consequently your customer profiles, on the following criteria:
- Behavioural analysis
- Belief in the segment
An ideal interview lasts between 20-40 minutes where a person can actually talk about everything they know concerning that field. These interviews are termed as ‘empathy interviews’, as the people being interviewed provide insights that may be useful in the future or for different situations. The entire process though, depends on the active listening and active hearing skill set of the interviewer; making a note of every detail and every spec of information.
The desire to dig deeper is important, but actively listening to people will help identify the tools required to make the dig. It will help put together, piece by piece, the map to the treasure that is desired.
Go in as a blank slate and let them fill you up!