I was recently invited to present at the 2011 Mirren New Business Conference, which is a forum for exchange of ideas and training that can help advertising agencies to win new business.
The Mirren Institute has been predicting that the future of advertising agencies will depend on their ability to translate consumer insights into creative solutions that will have an impact on clients’ bottom lines. I couldn’t agree more.
Nonetheless, in a presentation by Andrew Deitchman, the founder of Mother New York, he cited an “unscientific” survey the agency conducted, in which the results indicate that 67% of the agencies and clients rely on gut-feeling and intuition. If this is true, at the exclusion of market research and consumer insights, that’s a sad fact.
Intuition and what is called “gut-feeling” are really products of accumulated experiences that allow individuals to recognize patterns and make decisions without being aware of how they arrived to them. The key word here is experience. For gut-feeling-made decisions to be right in the advertising world, it is required to have in-depth industry and category experience and knowledge of the target market and the client’s business issues. How can we get a real understanding of the target market without market research and customer insights?
More and more clients are asking for the data behind recommended marketing and advertising strategies. Agencies are likely to increase their odds of winning an account by explaining the rationale, for their proposed advertising campaign, with the help of something more than intuition and gut-feeling.
Most advertising campaigns have one or more of these goals:
- Inform, position
- Call to action
- Change or reinforce attitudes
- Change or reinforce behaviors
To reach any of these goals, it helps to think as clients think about the purchase cycle for their products/brands. There is always a target market that needs to be aware of our products/brands, consider them, try them and keep buying them.
CONSIDER THE PURCHASE CYCLE
Marketing or advertising campaigns are likely to increase their effectiveness in achieving any of the above mentioned goals if they take into account the different phases of the purchase cycle. For each of these phases, agencies often face questions that can’t be answered with “gut-feeling,” and call for market research and customer insights.
Whether to invest in research to answer questions like these while preparing a pitch it is always a difficult decision for ad agencies since it is hard to justify the cost when it is uncertain they will win the account. Luckily, thanks to technology, there are many new qualitative and quantitative research techniques that can be used to gather rich consumer insights, faster and cheaper than ever.
I urge advertising agencies to give them a try if they want to win a pitch and go beyond gut-feeling or intuition, which are often confused with personal taste and strong biased opinions.