So far in the Brand Research Fundamentals series, you’ve learned how to use research for brand development and brand creation. Now, it’s time to learn how to conduct research that will help you develop effective promotions. You can create the most amazing marketing promotions in the world but if those promotions aren’t right for your brand and audience, they won’t drive results. That’s why brand research is so important for brand promotion success.
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Don’t execute marketing initiatives like you throw darts at a dart board. That’s like throwing money away! Instead, use research to ensure your promotion will drive the results you want and need.
Before I go any further, let’s take a moment to define what goes into brand promotion. It’s more than just advertising. In fact, it’s a fundamental part of your business.
Brand Research and the 4Ps
Because brand promotion is so important, it’s included in what marketers refer to as the 4Ps. These are the four core elements that make up any business’ marketing mix:
- Product: Your product is what you’re offering to consumers for a specific price.
- Price: Your price is the dollar amount (and the perceived emotional currency) that consumers must pay to get your product.
- Place: The place of your marketing mix refers to the distribution process from manufacturing to transportation, retail, resellers, shelf space, and so on.
- Promotion: The promotion part of your marketing mix refers to the marketing tactics that you execute in order to increase awareness, recognition, sales, and loyalty.
Your brand touches all parts of the 4Ps and all elements of your marketing mix.
Promotions Include More Than Ads
What are promotions? It’s a confusing word because promotion is used to reference short-term marketing tactics such as sales and discounts as well as the overall promotion aspect of your marketing mix. Following is a list of common marketing tactics that are part of your brand promotion:
- Direct mail and email marketing
- Social media participation and content publishing
- Trade shows and events
Of course, a full list of tactical marketing promotions would be very long. The point to understand is that all the ways you promote your product affect your audience and your business, including the way you design your package which ties closely to your brand identity creation discussed in Part 2 of the Brand Research Fundamentals series. You need to be certain that the promotional activities you pursue, which almost always cost money, will deliver an acceptable return on your investment.
Brand Research and the 3Ms
Brand promotion research occurs in three phases: before you create a promotion, during the promotion period, and after the promotion ends. By conducting ongoing research, you can learn the best promotions to create, when they need tweaking before it’s too late, and how to improve them in the future.
Marketers use the 3Ms to develop promotions which include the media (for example, the website where an ad will be placed), the message (what the ad will say), and the mode (how that ad will work -- e.g., pop-up, expanding window, animated, static banner, etc.). With the 3Ms in mind, your brand promotion research should address points like the following:
Media: What media does your audience consume and how does that media differ by audience? When and where do they access that media? For example, it wouldn’t be as effective for a liberal political candidate to pay for ad space on Fox News, which has an audience that is primarily highly conservative. In fact, many liberals dislike Fox News intensely and would likely react negatively to a liberal political candidate who advertised on that channel, as the image below suggests.
Message: What will your ad say? How will your message address different segments of your audience? Does your message appeal to your target audience based on the media where your promotion will live? What messages does your audience want and need to hear from you through this media? Are your messages believable and do they move consumers to a desired action?
Mode: How will your ad deliver your message? Does your audience respond negatively to an online pop-up ad? Is there a specific way that your target audiences like to have marketing messages delivered through the media they consume? Would a 30-second television commercial be more effective or a half-hour infomercial? Which would be more effective in driving your target audience to action? How does your audience prefer to receive your message?
Spending time to learn where, when, what, and how to promote your brand through research is essential to your marketing success. Otherwise, you’re simply throwing darts at a dart board hoping you hit the bulls eye but with no guarantee that you’ll come even close to it. That’s not an intelligent way to operate a business.
Part 4 of the Brand Research Fundamentals series is coming soon and will discuss researching brand perception and equity on an ongoing basis. In the meantime, if you missed any earlier parts in the series, you can follow the links below to read them now:
- Brand Research Fundamentals: Part 1 - Brand Development and Strategic Planning
- Brand Research Fundamentals: Part 2 - Brand Creation