Many of Britain's best brands will research their brand thought and messaging before developing new web sites and marketing communications. However, they tend to be the exception and many companies fail to do much research. Either they:-
If you always guess what your prospects / customers are thinking you are highly likely to get it wrong. If this is the case and results are not as good as expected, you may have to re-do the previous website / brochure / advertising campaigns etc resulting in longer lead times and higher costs.
In my experience, (and I have worked with brands like Asda & Egg who have an enviable track record for achieving great results in shorter lead times than average) doing some essential research to quickly find out what works and what doesn't, means that you are significantly more likely to achieve the desired objective in less time & for less cost.
I frequently use Google PPC to do research for my clients and find this a fast & low cost way of doing some research and getting results that enables clients to make objective decisions designed to maximise their Marketing Return On Investment (ROI).
With Google PPC it is possible to get a research test campaign running incredibly fast. e.g. suppose a company wants to test different propositions such as whether cost, service or quality is more important to prospects. An ad could be created for each of the 3 propositions & depending on the search volumes it is possible to get valuable results the same or next day. The results will show which proposition is more compelling to the target audience by comparing how many clicks or conversions each version gets. This principle could also be applied to researching headlines, ad copy, product names etc.
A campaign was created with 3 different Google ads each communicating a different message. The ads were clicked 1,000 times in 48 hours at an average cost of 25p click, giving a Google campaign cost of £250.
Clearly, message 2 had significantly more appeal to the target prospects.
If the client had progressed version 1 or 3, the test results suggest that their ongoing business results would only be a half or a quarter of the winning test's results. This would have a huge impact in lost sales revenue / profits. At some point, sooner rather than later, the proposed brochure, ad campaign, website etc would need to be redesigned duplicating the original development costs.
In the above example the advertising cost was £250. Even adding in a set-up cost if this is managed by a PPC specialist the total research cost is likely to be significantly lower that redesigning everything in a few months time.
Depending on the value of the product or service, it may be that if just 1 of the 300 visitors attracted by the research test actually buys, then the value created is higher than the cost of the test. e.g. One of my clients ran a Google PPC research test investing just £300 on Google PPC media and attracted a client worth over £150,000. Not a bad marketing ROI.
Published 22nd June, 2009
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