blog articles

Biggest untapped potential in advertising

To many peo­ple, audi­ence research can seem vague and expen­sive with no clear promise of results. This seems crazy to those of us in the indus­try who know how to find insights. We’ve learned to trust that there’s much infor­ma­tion below the sur­face that’s acces­si­ble and there for the tak­ing. These insights become the most valu­able indus­try intel there can pos­si­bly be. It shows us how to speak on the customer’s terms.

Why does it seem vague, with no promise of results? Because you can’t see the insights from the start­ing posi­tion. You have to trust that they’re there. But good, strate­gic ad schools, like the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ore­gon (cred­it to Profs Deb Mor­ri­son, Kim Shee­han, Dave Koran­da, among oth­ers) teach stu­dents to look for those insights. Stu­dents learn to devel­op a snif­fer for audi­ence insights, sort of like the guys with the met­al detec­tors on the beach, only with­out the pulled-up brown socks.

Why does it seem expen­sive? Because it doesn’t pay off the next day; it’s an invest­ment. But just like with every­thing, you don’t buy it because it’s cheap. You buy it because it’s valu­able.

So when should you look for audi­ence insights? Prob­a­bly when you’re work­ing on a high-val­ue offer­ing. So your brand would prob­a­bly be the biggest ben­e­fi­cia­ry, since your brand cre­ates the trust-infra­struc­ture for all your prod­ucts and ser­vices.

But the biggest ben­e­fit of good research (the right bal­ance between qual­i­ta­tive and quan­ti­ta­tive research) is that it sep­a­rates you from your com­pe­ti­tion, because while they’re talk­ing about how great they are (e.g. “in busi­ness since 1979”) , you’re talk­ing to con­sumers on their terms, help­ing them under­stand the prod­uct in ref­er­ence to their lives.

And guess who’s gonna win that bat­tle nine out of ten times.