To deliver ROI to marketers, research needs agility and direct access to customers

Marketers often struggle to find consistent, actionable and timely insight, but their challenges are an opportunity for research teams to show the return-on-investment (ROI) of what they do.

It’s not that marketing teams have a shortage of data. But their campaign trackers deliver massive data sets that must be sifted through for insight. At the same time, traditional research methods aren’t always quick and nimble enough for rapid concept and message testing. And while focus groups are valuable sources of qualitative insight, they don’t provide the scale necessary to make smarter and more confident business decisions.

Marketing is often one of the most data-driven teams in an organization, so there’s a real opportunity for researchers to provide value to this part of this business. Here are some examples of how research teams from global brands have collaborated with their stakeholders in marketing-and the quantifiable results of those initiatives.

Delivering a bigger audience

CMOs already recognize thatthey need marketing intelligence, even though they realize they aren’t getting the most out of their data and insight. There is an opportunity for researchers to help drive marketing KPIs by working closely, frequently and early with CMOs.

One example comes from PBS, one of the most trusted media organizations in the U.S. Because PBS relies heavily on the support of “viewers like you,” the public broadcaster has used customer feedback gathered from its insight community extensively to guide the content in produces, and how that content is promoted. For example,viewers shaped the marketing campaign behind its coverage of the 2016 Presidential elections in the U.S. Accompanied by the tagline “Reliable. Rebalanced. Real,” the campaign boosted ratings for its trusted PBS News Hour by 22%. Moreover, that seven-year high for the news broadcast continued even after election season ended.

Helping drive conversions

Not only can research help boost reach-it can also help marketers optimize their campaigns.

A good example comes from the utility industry. SMUD, a community-owned, not-for-profit electric service provider in Sacramento, engaged its customers to shape the the naming, development and successful launch of SMUD’s new energy-saving program. Using its insight community, the organization has been able to  deepen its partnership with customers, while also helping its marketing team exceed its key performance indicators (KPIs) one month early for a major campaign and exceed their advertising conversion goal by 81%. By delivering insight that keeps up with the speed of business, SMUD’s research team plays an important role in the success of projects that drive revenue.

Providing timely insight

To provide data and insight that the marketing team can actually use, researchers need technology that lets them engage with customers directly. At GoDaddy, for example, the user experience research team is the gateway to customers and often provides timely insight for marketers. In a recent example, GoDaddy’s research team was able to help marketing test different messaging variations for a commercial that was airing in a few days.

“I was able to get the team results within 24 hours, and we had enough critical mass to decide before the commercial aired,” shared Cassie Mally, GoDaddy’s director of UX research. “It was a big win to give the team what they needed, and it was shared all the way to our CMO.”

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Making research matter to marketers

In marketing, fast and accurate research can mean the difference between success and failure. At Vision Critical, our experience working with thousands of brands has shown a relationship-based approach to customer intelligence helps companies get the insight they need to create more successful marketing campaigns.

We commissioned Forrester to conduct research that looks into the ROI of this relationship-based approach, and it found that companies that have embraced this strategy have uncovered substantial ROI. One customer estimates it saved between $2 million and $5 million by avoiding the launch of failed product launch. Another customer, a sports equipment manufacturer, has saved approximately $1.5 million a year using Vision Critical to shorten the time and effort it spends on a media launch from five weeks to one.

These savings of time, money and effort-combined with better success rates for marketing campaigns and product launches-provide compelling proof on the value research teams can deliver to marketing teams.

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