Marketing tactics and their respective effects should be fully explored before the investment is made. With the online channel becoming a popular method for targeting audiences, it is even more crucial to research how these audiences use technology.
Information on how people use technology can be obtained via a variety of sources; whether it be general consumer behavior information from organizations such as the Office of National Statistics in the UK, the US Government Reference Center or through media-buying agencies whose purpose is to inform brands on what audiences can be reached with various message placements. However, this information will be largely generic, and a brand looking to target specific groups in terms of age group or social status, will need to dig deeper to obtain reliable information that will not only aid the advertising spend decision, but also ensure there is a return on investment. Moreover, as statistics can become quickly out-of-date due to evolving consumer behavior patterns, it is best to use widely available information in conjunction with consumer research, rather than standalone.
The best way to establish how a target audience uses technology is to ask them directly. Building or utilizing a market research panel made up of people representative of the target group is a proven method. Finding out what their online habits are, especially when it comes to social media networking, will go a long way in ensuring future online-ad spend is worthwhile and can help to determine the level of investment. This can be combined and cross-referenced with information from other sources to give a more-precise market overview.
Many organizations and brands falsely assume consumer research is an expensive exercise and therefore may opt to use generic statistics. However, the availability of various DIY market research tools makes targeted insight attainment a better option. Building a consumer panel representative of the target audience is a good long-term option, as they can be consulted for future campaigns to ensure marketing is on message. This will, over time, provide the most cost-effective way to gather insight on a continual basis and for this reason, it is a route chosen by many brands. Another viable option is to utilize an existing panel which will fulfill a short-term requirement if a campaign is time critical or a one-off.
Digital marketing is effective for many organizations and brands, with most choosing to incorporate online efforts into their wider marketing strategies. If it is treated like any other marketing investment, with the right research carried out to ensure its success, then the rewards will be reaped.
Bo Mattsson, is the chief executive of Cint, a global provider of market insight, which he founded in 1998 in order to apply the benefits of trading online to the online market research industry. In 2003 he took over as CEO to revamp the firm into a marketplace based offering for respondent access.