Helen Johnstone, marketing communications manager for Competitive Advantage in the UK, recently wrote a blog posting to remind us of one of the most important prerequisites for construction marketing success.
Far too often, business owners and marketers rush into the “next big thing” without really studying the available data and information about their marketing plans. If you are to have a real marketing strategy, you need to take some time to acquire enough knowledge to at least know if you are heading in the right direction.
As Johnstone says in her post, research need not be expensive or complex — and in fact, this advice is NOT intended to suggest you bog yourself down to the point you are paralyzed. The goal of the research is not to be 100 per cent perfect; it is to avoid flinging yourself blindly into the unknown, without benchmarks and data to give you some idea of what success would look like, and what is your reasonable probability of success.
Johnstone suggests three research approaches you can take, without breaking the bank.
Survey your frontline sales team. Using a third-party to conduct this research means you are more likely to get responses that are not sugar-coated or biased. Making the survey responses anonymous is also a good idea. This type of research can give marketing insight into influences on specification, tools required by the sales team, insight into customer satisfaction and much more.
Desk research is a great way of conducting a quick informative piece of research. This is particularly applicable when researching market size and identifying market opportunity. Asking an expert to complete, means your time is freed up to get on with those all-consuming marketing tasks, preventing the project from becoming one of those jobs that always has to wait until tomorrow. The expert can also draw meaning and conclusion from the findings, findings that you can apply directly to your strategy.
Online surveys are fabulous for gaining instant responses that can be monitored as they come in. Providing an incentive to gain responses, such as vouchers or a prize draw, speeds results. Perhaps conduct a short sharp NPS survey prior to a communications programme, and again following the comms campaign? If time is really pressing then responses can be supplemented with telephone research to chosen key contacts.
I like these ideas. Can you implement any or all three of them when you develop your next marketing plan/project?