Should You Market Research Before Launching a PR or Marketing Campaign?

 

Before you launch your public relations, social media, advertising or marketing campaign you want to know who your audience is.    And not only do you want to know your target market, you want to know what they think, like and buy.  And how do you find that out?  Market research surveys, right?  I mean that’s the way the big boys do it.  Millions are spent each year to find out the secrets of how target markets think, feel, and spend their money.  But here’s another question: is that money well spent?

 

There was a market research survey that asked those involved whether a Stradivarius violin was worth a million dollars.  The response was overwhelmingly in the affirmative.  The following question was whether the participants would like to have one.  Again they responded with a resounding yes.  The final question in the survey was whether the participants would buy one.  Well, you can guess the response to that question.  Without the right questions, or without enough follow up questions, that type of research can lead you down a blind ally or take you round in circles.

 

Market research can be valuable, but it can also be expensive and ineffective.  There have been studies done using MRI’s to discover what parts of the brain we use to make hypothetical decisions and what parts we use to make actual real world decisions.  It turns out different parts of the brain are activated.  That’s where the disconnect comes in.  Traditional market research deals with hypotheticals, i.e. would you like this color product better than that?  How much would you pay for this product?  Would you buy this product?  That’s different than making an in-the-moment, real world choice.  Database research sounds good, because it has a tangible ring to it.  It’s sounds factual, statistical, yet it can often be wrong.

 

Different companies take different approaches, Google is big on market research, but it’s not your standard market research approach it actually has its users become part of the product building process.  On the other hand, when Steve Jobs was asked how much market research went into developing one of Apple’s products his reply was “none.” He explained that it wasn’t the customer’s job to create the product.

 

So what should companies who need to watch their marketing budgets do when it comes to market research?  Be savvy.  Use social media sites to ask questions.  Do your own limited market surveys.  Then you need to rely on your passion and your intuition, listen to your gut.  When it comes down to it, a company needs to be built on passion and belief in one’s product or service and you don’t find that in market research studies.

 

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012


Why You Should Launch a PR Campaign in a Tough Economy

No one is going to buy your product or services if they don’t know it exists and this is particularly true in tough economic times.  As counter intuitive as it might seem, the slow times are the times that you can’t afford to cut back in your marketing efforts.  It has been documented that companies that increase their marketing efforts during a recession can improve their market share as well as their return on investment at lower costs than they can during good economic times.  This is true because during uncertain times consumers need the reassurance.  They need to see you’re there.  While your competitors are cutting back and going into stealth mode, you should be keeping yourself and your company in front of your target audience.  While the competition is out of sight and out of mind, you should be front and center.

Understandably you don’t want to take on an expensive advertising campaign during lean times, but you do want to market.  You want to be creative.  You want to focus on how to best reach your market at a reasonable cost.  You also want to be realistic and understand that you’re going to need to invest in yourself and your company.  As the old adage says, it takes money to make money; but it needn’t take a lot.

  1. Initially, study your market and define your specific target market.
  2. Next, do some research and find out how to reach that market.  What do they read?  What do the watch?  What social media sites do they use?  What web sites do they visit?  You don’t need to hire a firm to do this market research for you.  Give someone the parameters you’re looking for, put them in front of a computer and get them started.  Twitter and Facebook alone offer a wealth of information on consumers and their likes and dislikes.
  3. Make a list of the media they read, watch, and visit.
  4. Develop a marketing campaign that will speak to your target market.

Because advertising and direct marketing can be expensive, I generally recommend a targeted marketing campaign that combines traditional public relations with an online campaign that includes blogging and social media.  Media relations is so effective because it reaches your target market, establishes you as an expert and offers you the validation of being featured in the news.  It also gives you powerful ammunition for your social media campaign.   The story pitches and press releases that you develop to present to the traditional media can also be modified and used online in your blogs and social media posts.  Always keep in mind that your objective is to present yourself as a problem solver.  Don’t pitch your business or product, explain how you can solve your client’s problems and make their lives easier, more efficient, healthier, etc.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

Traditional plus Social Media: The Beauty Biz Success Secret

According to research conducted by The NPD Group, Inc., a leading market research company, in 2010, total  U.S. prestige beauty generated $8.4 billion, an increase of 4 percent in dollars, compared to $8.19 billion in 2009.

Beauty is a huge market and that figure does not take into consideration all brands and products.  The bottom line is that beauty sells.  As with fashion and entertainment a beauty-oriented company needs to develop a strong brand in order to be truly successful and nothing is more effective for creating a powerful brand and brand awareness than PR and media relations.   Through public relations your product or service is positioned as a news story, not as an ad or a commercial.  Through the media, you are also positioned as an expert in the field, as a beauty guru.  Soon the media starts coming to you to learn the latest beauty or skin care tips and secrets.  You help define beauty and style trends, while positioning both you and your company via the media.

You can then meld a blogging and social media campaign with your traditional media campaign.  For example, if you receive coverage in your local newspaper on your salon, or your new product line, you can take that article and link it on your blog as well as on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Digg and other social sites.  You have now turned a local article into a national article.  Or conversely, you can tape a very cool, interesting segment and post it on YouTube.  In the beauty world you can be a bit outrageous, so make it fun, make it interesting, give it attitude.  Now using your blog, Facebook, Twitter and other online venues, try and create a buzz around that video.  If you generate enough interest you can then pitch your YouTube phenomena to the mainstream media and garner media coverage in print and TV.  That’s not a slam dunk, and requires work and some creative thinking, but we’ve done it, so it is possible.

The key to a successful beauty PR campaign is to create a compelling story around your product or service.  Make it interesting, stylish, and compelling.  Always keep your target market in mind. Then study the media outlets that reach your target market.  Now develop a number of different stories to pitch to a variety of different media outlets.  Each media source has needs and interests that are specific to it.  The primary secret to launching an effective media relations campaign is to focus on what the various media outlets need, and pitch each outlet accordingly.  For example, beauty trade publications will be interested in a business angle, whereas your local media will respond to a pitch with a local slant and a national TV show is going to be more willing to run with a story that has a strong visual component.  Being in the beauty field offers you strong visuals, so be creative and use them.  Also remember that the ingredients, the look and the packaging itself can offer you a compelling story.  If you use eco-friendly packaging, or if your ingredients are non allergenic, or if you utilize customer recycling initiatives, these can all be angles you can pitch to the media.

More and more, savvy beauty-oriented companies are spending zero on traditional advertising and utilizing a creative mix of traditional public relations combined with a creative blogging and social media campaign to build their business, grow their brand and achieve success in the beauty biz.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

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