Before any website goes live or any brochure is printed, before the concept is developed or the website’s wireframe is put together, before a single designer or web developer go to work, we first come up with a plan. Sure, that seems obvious. However, sometimes developing that plan requires a type of research many companies don’t consider. Through market research, we can gain incredibly useful insights that drive the rest of our work and render better, more focused campaigns.

When we partnered with the Boy Scouts of America to help launch and market STEM Scouts, we conducted online surveys, web usability testing and focus groups with parents and children (the target audience) to determine how they viewed the program and what would encourage them to respond more positively. The results defined the STEM Scouts program itself as well as guided us in creating a more integrated marketing campaign.

We conducted similar research for UT Extension to develop a campaign that would encourage healthy living in four counties in Tennessee. Through in-person and online focus groups and surveys, we interviewed people to find out what it was like to live in those counties, what it would take to change unhealthy behaviors and what are some of the barriers to healthy living. We even did an ethnography study, asking people to journal and take pictures of their daily life. The research helped us develop a few branding concepts, which we were able to test in a focus group. The BE MORE Campaign resonated the most with the target audience.

For Tennessee Tech University, we sought to discover how people perceive the university and how that affects their decision to apply. We interviewed high school seniors and Tennessee Tech freshmen, as well as Tennessee Tech faculty and staff through in-person and online focus groups and surveys. The research helped provide foundational information and insights to better understand the target audience, its decision-making process and its recognition of Tennessee Tech and other area colleges. We then developed and tested three different campaign ideas to originate solid recommendation that would best resonate with the audience.

Market research is essential to uncovering your target audience’s perception of your brand. Not only does it assess the quality of your current marketing efforts, but it also ensures consistent and effective interactions at every touchpoint in the future.