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How Research Insights Can Empower Your Marketing: Here and Now
By: Veronica Purvis, MS, CAE

On May 25, AMADC held the first part of a two-part webinar series on How Research Insights Can Empower Your Marketing. The first part focused on the “Here and Now,” while the second part scheduled for June 4 will focus on the post-pandemic. This interactive session packed with polling and breakout sessions featured panelists Tara Hutton, Director, Customer Insights, Hilton; Joy Levin, President, Allium Research and Analytics; and Wendy Price, President, WHP Research, Inc. 

The panelists discussed how the pandemic is changing the processes for generating insights as well as why it is important for research methods to be agile. They pointed out that some existing tools are being utilized more to understand how the marketplace is adapting to change, companies are experimenting more, and some companies are shifting focus from primary research (conducted in house) to secondary research (sourced from third party information). Some ideas for mining secondary research included monitoring social media channels, reviewing branding and advertising campaigns, and analyzing desk research like surveys and other studies. Plus, don’t forget to consider research that was available prior to the pandemic too that may still provide insights.

There is no shortage of data available but the challenge we usually face is sifting through all of it to make business decisions. It can be overwhelming, but the panelists reminded us to focus on the gaps in your business intelligence. For example, you know who your target audience is. Search to see what data is available that fits that target market. If there is behavioral information that exists (e.g. how they spend their time, what digital platforms they use, and where they go for information sources, etc.) but not much data available on their thoughts about a certain topic of interest to your company, then focus your research on gaining those insights. The point is you don’t need to do big studies on sentiment behavior because there are companies that already provide that information. Research World, as reported by AMA, published a list of companies that conduct research studies on emerging trends and how consumers are responding to COVID-19. 

After the main 20-minute discussion, the participants chatted in breakout sessions for about another 20 minutes and then regrouped. The remarks from the breakouts illustrated that here and now companies are focused on:

  • Reassuring their customers.
  • Promoting their businesses and trying to generate funds.
  • Focusing on being helpful and philanthropic.
  • Changing their tactics.

Marketers acknowledged the professional challenges they are experiencing in their work and professional lives. Other observations from the breakout sessions included:

  • Networking has become even more important. 
  • Changing to a personal branding approach.
  • Witnessing how many companies are heavily advertising but not always aligned to people's mindsets right now which is on safety and security. 

Reflecting on this webinar, the main theme was marketers and the insights you use have to be agile (meaning flexible) and able to pivot depending on the circumstances. Consider the whole research process from launching to measuring so that you can pivot depending on findings. It is fine (and even necessary) to have research generation systems in place. But you need to accept that the market and consumer needs are going to continue to evolve as this COVID-19 pandemic moves through phases. Every industry is going through positive and negative changes. As an informed marketer, you can alleviate your consumers’ fears and serve as a valuable resource to them during these changes. Remember, insights empower marketers to communicate, to differentiate their companies from other businesses, make better decisions, understand consumer trends, and to be viewed as valuable within as well as outside your organization. Stay connected with us and your peers to learn how to glean what you need to position yourself and your organization for a competitive edge.

It was a great discussion and is sure to continue to be insightful at our next part in the series. Join us for part two of the series and find out where AMADC will donate the webinar proceeds. The donations will go to either Twenty Tables—Feed the Front Lines or to the World Central Kitchen (maybe both!). Participants will vote at the next webinar