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What Research Teaches Us and How To Cash In

by Emette Massey

posted in Business

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I used to think marketing research was a total waste of time. Focus groups, panels and surveys... who the hell takes time to do these things? But I found out some fascinating facts. Would you like to hear about them?
Before you start to roll your eyes or break out in hives, think of research as your "silent" business partner. Even if you have no interest in research and how it applies to your business, think again. Even if you 'half-ass' it, you'll be leaps ahead of the competition.
Hint: Most business have no idea how use the facts they find... if they (or hire someone) do any competitive research at all... BUT
When you finish reading this article you'll soon understand the importance of researching 'stuff', how to use it to gain a serious, competitive edge and put more dough in your company coffers.
Ready? OK, let's roll...
To begin, let me use another word to replace 'research.' After all, research' is a smelly, dirty word to most entrepreneurs. It implies work. Skull work. And lots of it!
Merriam-Webster defines it this way...
"Careful study that is done to find and report new knowledge about something"
"The activity of getting information about a subject"
So let's use the word 'homework' instead... well, hell that isn't much better, is it? Hey, I know... let's call it 'profit search.' Sounds a whole lot better, doesn't it? And that's exactly what it is, a profit search.
Years ago, before I finally grew up, I used to think advertising was all about writing cute words that sounded cool and showcasing the words around fancy artwork or pictures.
Fortunately I got over it very quickly and found a several teachers who taught me a few basic, timeless principles. It was the 'when the student is ready, the teacher will appear' thing.
It was during this same time that I caught the research 'bug' numerous years back when I stumbled upon the wisdom an 'old-timer' named David Ogilvy.
In case you've never heard of David Ogilvy, he founded Ogilvy & Mather in 1949 and built his company to one of the eight largest advertising companies in the world. Yes, you read that correctly-in the world.
Ogilvy is widely considered "The Father of Advertising." In 1962, Time magazine called him "the most sough-after wizard in today's advertising industry."
Though Ogilvy checked out nearly 15 years ago, the ad agency he built still is a major force amongst ad agencies today with offices 450 worldwide in 169 cities.
You may find it interesting that he was a researcher and copy writer before he become an ad executive.
In his book Ogilvy on Advertising he stated "Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals."
That sentence caught fire with me and prompted me to dig deeper about how research could help making my ads (and the ads I write for clients) more powerful and persuasive.
I strongly suggest that you employ at least some form of research in your marketing and see how it could increase your sales.
Here's five ways you may research to make your ads sizzle and sell more...
  • Research can help you estimate the sales of new products and how much it's going to cost to get these sales. You can gauge prospect interest with mathematical models to see whether your new product warrants testing or not.

  • Along these same lines, you can use research to get customer reactions to new products before you go 'whole hog' with production. Better to get a "thumbs up or down" while your new product idea is still in the conceptual stage-else you could be in for a serious loss.

  • Let research guide you in how your product or service stack up again other products in the marketplace. Once the data's in, you can make tweaks to make it more appealing. It's all about what your marketing wants... again, research will be your silent partner.

  • Research can help you define your target market. Who are they... Men or women? Old or young. Rich or not so rich.

  • Research can find out what jargon folks are using when talking about your type of product and what factors are important in the buying process.

So there you have it... a few good ideas on how your newest 'silent' partner... aka Research can save the day by uncovering details about your customers and prospects that lead them down the purchasing path and earning your more money!
Till next time... I bid you peace and prosperity!
About the Author: Emette Massey is a copywriter and marketing consultant. Why not pick up some FREE Business Growth Hacks at
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