3 Ways Market Research Improves Advertisement

Market Research Is the Foundation of Effective Marketing

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Are Your Creatives Suffering from White-Board-itis? Make Sure the Creative Team Talks to Consumers. Getty Images | Izabela Habur | E+ Collection

Spot on market research is essential for effective adverting and marketing campaigns.  Creatives need to be strong partners of market research and understand how fundamental solid consumer insights are to their work.  When companies talk about their marketing campaigns and don't refer to the market research that provided the insights for their marketing and advertising, it is likely that the critical step of market research was left out of the development.

 

Here are some examples of ads that seem to have been written in a vacuum, or in a very exclusive gathering of self-referential creatives and marketing executives:

Aflac - A full page print ad appearing in Martha Stewart Living that refers to a prospector and his mule, while running with this whole idea as an association with the word (wink, wink) "claim" (read: insurance claim).  The ad is intended to introduce a new Aflac claim process that the company refers to as Next Day Pay.  Consider that the target market for the ad is intended to be young professionals of the age that are unlikely to open the pages of a Martha Stewart publication.  The ad rambles on in a sophomoric tone on a page that is all text, except for an image of a duck.

Cadillac - A full page print ad on the back cover of that reprints an adulterated version of the famous speech by former President Teddy Roosevelt commonly referred to as The Man in the Arena.

 The print ad does not attribute the inspirational words to Roosevelt at all.  There are no images of Cadillac cars.  Instead, the creatives have placed angled, sepia-toned images of old, albeit, architecturally interesting, buildings that further research reveals are derived from the television commercial for the same Dare Greatly campaign.

 Making the connection between daring greatly and buying a Cadillac is left to the consumer.  Frankly, it is difficult to get there.  Unless one considers that quite a few Wall Streeters have "dared greatly" indeed, since circa 2008 when they set about defrauding the American public. 

Cadillac - The television commercial for the Dare Greatly campaign is more or less a sequel to the Born in Detroit commercial narrated by Eminem in 2011.  Like most sequels it disappoints.  Admittedly, it is difficult to recapture the magic of an excellent commercial, but like Hollywood producers, marketing executives seem to believe that "If consumers fell for it once, they will fall for it again."  The 2015 version of the Cadillac-in-the-city commercials, as the inevitable series of broadcast ads will be referred to in the history of commercials, features the city of New York - without, one might add, any apparent reason for doing so…other than grit.  By extension, one imagines the creators are referring to the grit of the arena (that would be the arena in which our hero "spends himself in a worthy cause" (T. Roosevelt, Sorbonne, in Paris, France on April, 23, 1910).

Here is an example of an ad that appears to be grounded in solid market research: 

Starbucks - A full-page ad in the "A" section (the first section of the newspaper) of USA Today that introduces the Starbucks Flat White.  The entire ad is an enormous image of steamed foamy milk being poured into a cup of perfect coffee with a visible ring of cream.  The ad exemplifies the tag line: SIMPLICITY IS ITS OWN ARTISTY.  What do we learn from the ad?  The new Flat White joins the six other classic espresso handcrafted beverages:   – Two shots of espresso straight. – shots of espresso and filtered hot water.  – shots of espresso rise to the surface with velvety steamed whole milk.  – a shot of espresso topped with a deep layer of foamed milk.  – a shot of espresso in steamed milk lightly topped with foam. The new flat white is bolder than a latte, smoother than a cappuccino, with a slightly sweeter finish over velvety steamed whole milk.

 The ad will likely run in major newspapers read by business people, travelers, and those who make their offices in The Third Place

Starbucks knows its customers.  Even if Starbucks' consumers can't pronounce , they know what it is and how it contributes to the taste of the new flat white.  [The  ristretto “short shot” is the first ¾-ounce of espresso in an extraction, which many believe is the absolute perfect espresso.]  The Starbucks ad doesn't pander to or flatter customers.  It doesn't make cutesy, rambling insider jokes. It doesn't suggest the customers who try a flat white are bolder than most.  The ad simply does what market research indicates a successful print ad does

1. Tell the story in a few words.

2.  Show a great image.

3.  Illustrate confidence in the brand.