Is your brand considering how to use the marketing budget? Your budget may include researching your target audience. With the right research, key insights may be gained that can increase profits. Everyone can agree that learning more about your target audience can turn into larger profits. The question becomes, “What is the best way to research?”
Research can be costly and some research methods are going out of date. This post provides examples of projects not researched and it also provides examples of a few industry leaders’ current research methods. Not everything needs to be researched, but I will also share Coca-Cola’s new marketing budget and why they are making changes.
As an example, Coca-Cola names brands like Best Buy’s Twelp Force, Gatorade, Old Spice, and Nike as not using quantitative pre-testing-a method that is going out of date for many industries. Watch Nike’s commercial below:
Nike’s Write the Future Commercial
This commercial is common sense mixed with excellent storytelling. It takes action filled imagery of pro soccer players at their highest level of performance. We all can connect to the hopes of future dreams and receiving what we are working hard for-victory. This doesn’t take any quantitative pre-testing to understand. It does take creativity thinking. When it comes to video, a script writer/movie director is needed to execute the vision like this one-properly. There is great suspense as the players offer their best to win. All of the movement was captured very well from just the right angles at just the right moment.
Videos need creativity and direction. They need a desired outcome and function. For a marketing budget, only a few areas may need research. Pick the best/right metrics and let the data inform other appropriate marketing projects.
Content 2020, Chapter 8 describes why Coca-Cola is updating its marketing budget and how it’s related to customer research. Coca-Cola is moving away from pre-testing/quantitative research-meaning groups of people tested for how to best influence the desired response. There is a control group and many other scientific testing factors.
Coca-Cola’s Old Marketing Budget
Content 2020 goes on to examining Coca-Cola’s old marketing budget.
• 20% budgeting on qualitative testing (Outdated method)
• 60% budgeting on heavy executional link testing
• 20% budgeting on static in-market testing
Based on the above industry leaders and content marketing, Coca-Cola will adapt its budget.
Coca-Cola’s Current Marketing Budget
• 30% budgeting on inspirational spaces & provicational tools
• 15% budgeting on interactive feedback-online dialogue tools
• 30% budgeting on link testing
• 25% budgeting on in-market testing (Real-time marketing)
The 30% on inspirational spaces & provocation tools is related to Coca-Cola’s immersion safaris. The 15% interactive feedback is for developing stories with customer generated content. The video mentions A-Z story arcs. What this will look like is not quite clear, but from the description it appears that Coca-Cola may start a story and customer participation will complete the story. This idea is summed up as ‘Genuine consumer collaboration’-the brand and the customer coming together to create something new. This new result will help Coca-Cola understand its customer better and form a closer relationship.
Link testing is more than just getting good seo results; it is building relationships and trust. Think of a well-placed link as the answer to your personal question. It means a lot. It’s the quality control to build and foster relationships. Link testing was 60% of the budget. It is now moving to 30%, making room for a more balanced approach.
It is nice to hear real feedback from a person, who is present. There is less of a filter. There is an old saying that people do business with people they know, like, and trust. If you were walking down the street and revive a free Coke, or had a good conversation with someone, not because they are trying to sell you, would you not leave with a positive impression? That experience would be a personal connecter to the brand. Content 2020 also mentions, “We would like to be able to fuel the conversations we are having in the long-term.” This goal captured my attention. How do we really listen as a brand? In what ways can we provide the in-person opportunities that we need?
For your content development, you can start with common sense like Nike did. Many other large brands are using this method. They are able to produce something creative and entertaining for its audience.
SEO & Keyword Research
Be technical and organized. Have a system for your SEO and link-building. Keyword Research should not be underestimated in your research process. Find the keywords and top questions that your target audience is asking. Never stop learning about them and how to better serve their needs. Also illuminate keywords that bring in people who you are not targeting. Your content can also be adapted to better communicate who your offer is for. For example: parents who need more organization at home for their children.
Research Never Ends
One of the big ways that Coca-Cola now understands research is that it is something that never stops. All of the individual projects might not need its own research, but they will be used to gain new evidence for the next project. Research never ends. It starts with an idea and possibly some keyword research and then it is completed and launched. This new kind of research is alive through the whole process not just in the beginning with focus groups-the out dated method.
Never underestimate the power of in-person marketing. It is awesome to have all of this technology at our finger tips, but the personal-to-person (Real-time Marketing) will always be a high impact opportunity for your brand. Branding is all about creating a life-long irreplaceable relationship between your brand and individuals. Our technology is great, but sometimes it can keep your brand at a distance. Be a brand with an in personal experience offline too.