Five reasons to use market research in PR campaigns

We are often asked to launch a programme of activity to ‘increase awareness’ of a brand, a product or service.

However, before agreeing and signing off the activity itself we will often recommend a piece of research is undertaken to be clear about the audience we are targeting, which channels we use and the messages we send out to them.

This can save so much time in the long run and brings clarity to the PR and marketing process. Here’s five ways using market research in PR campaigns can be a valuable asset:

1. Measuring attitudes

We have recently been engaged by one of our clients to conduct a piece of research among its customers across Europe to gather more intelligence about how they feel about the brand and the brand logo which they want to start applying to various pieces of collateral such as brochures and on the website.

With information about what customers currently think about the brand we can then revisit them in six months, 12 months or at regular intervals to measure their changing perceptions and how our activity is changing attitudes, or not.

2. Connecting with customers

Whether it is quantitative research – covering quite large numbers of customers – or a smaller sample using qualitative research, a piece of research enables you to connect with them and gather their honestly held views in an independent way.

The research may reveal a host of reasons why a certain product isn’t selling as well as you hoped or a service isn’t quite taking off and enable you to find a solution.

3. Helping to launch products and services

By conducting research amongst a specific market using customers, industry bodies and influencers, you will gather a wider picture of how the market is moving.

This will provide valuable information before developing or launching a new product or service. With this market intelligence in mind, the type of product, timing, and who you are aiming it at may change but will be more targeted.

4. Comparing the competition

Using research among a range of customers and other end users of your products or services can also provide information about how you rate against your competitors.

This will then provide valuable data when you come to look at how you market your products, how you position them as being different and adding value as compared to the rest of the market in the eyes of your customers.

5. Keeping track of trends

A smaller qualitative research format could be to use a focus group which could be made up of about 10 or 12 customers and industry experts.

This may provide valuable insight into purchasing trends, identify gaps in the market or inform you of opportunities emerging that you had not previously foreseen. It may also flag up dangers or market issues which will help with decision-making for the future.

For more information on the topic, please contact Paul Tustin, client director at Freshfield.