In today’s modern economy, hardly anyone has the luxury to jump into new areas with no hard analytics to back them up.
By Karla Jo Helms
The relationship of public relations to marketing is very important when it comes to knowing who your target market is and what they are searching for. More often than not, a product or service provides a solution to a problem that people are seeking and somehow enhances their lives one form or another. For these reasons and more, market research is a very integral part of creating a successful PR campaign.
A PR professional that knows their job is aware that you really need to find out what people think about your industry and product, and what they already think of you so you can gauge your entry point to a PR campaign and properly influence the minds of people to get them thinking the way that you want them to.
Why Market Research is Important
If you have people that are very skeptical about a certain subject or about a particular industry and you try launching a company or a new product in the midst of this sort of reaction, you just might low-ball your estimation of effort of what it’s really going to take to break through to this public. This type of info is important to know before you begin a PR campaign. If you don’t do your market research first, you may never know how to deal with specific attitudes and feelings. However, when you do have correct market research, you will be able to figure out what to do to start getting people to become less cynical and start getting them to believe and think as you want them to.
Without market research, you are fighting an uphill battle. There are a lot of companies who don’t do market research before they promote a product or launch a public relations campaign. And that’s a shame because it is a very important part of getting the best return on investment.
If you are a new company that is promoting a blue widget and you are marketing to an audience that is looking for a red widget it doesn’t matter how hard you work at your PR and marketing campaign or how much money you invest in advertising. The campaign will not work because you do not know who your target market is and why they would be looking for a blue widget.
What’s more is if you spend the time manufacturing the blue widget and there is no market for it, you will end up with a lot of money down the drain spent on all the production of the widgets, with nothing to show for it. This is the equivalent of forgetting the foundation to the building and then trying to build the structure. The odds are very good that the structure will crumble without the foundation.
Market Research and PR
Many companies don’t prime their campaign properly and then go through the long painful process that they could have avoided just by doing market research. It just makes sense that you should research your market first so you know who you are talking to. Would you talk to a construction worker about a beauty product? I think if you did you would find them turning you off like a TV set. On the other hand, would you talk to a makeup artist about a beauty product? Chances are….yes and they would be interested in what you have to say.
Those are simple examples, but here are some real ones. One of our clients is a certified financial planner for a very specific group of professionals. He was having trouble getting his marketing message across. In the market research, we found out exactly why as well as what they wanted in a financial planner. We nailed their likes and dislikes to a T, down to how the financial planner should walk, talk and act like to appear credible. And what happened when we launched his PR campaign and actually used his market research? This, by the way, was his second financial planning practice, and he exceeded the entire ten-year growth of first practice in just one year! That is the power of market research.
This is the way it works with market research and if you market to the wrong audience or market with the wrong message, it will be like talking to the wall – you will get no response.
This carries over into PR. The PR professional must know who your target market is and what they want (or don’t want) if they are going to create success for your company. What makes your market tick? What problem are they trying to solve? What are some of their dislikes? How much do they know about you and your company? What problem would a product/service like yours solve for them? The list of questions goes on and on. Once this information is gathered through market research then the PR professional can design a campaign that pushes the right buttons of your target audience and gets you noticed.
So if you have not done your market research, this is an extremely important component if you are going to truly get the best ROI from your PR campaign.