Live from GIPC: Minimizing Risk with Research

New York – We all know the importance of conducting research before jumping headlong into a new marketing plan. But not all marketers know the true value of research nor how best to apply it.

Bonny Brown, director of research and public service for e-business management services provider Keynote Systems, extolled the value of research-directed marketing during a session at Monday’s Global Internet Performance Conference. Comparing a marketing campaign to a war, Brown said that research provides assurance that you “have the right resources at the right places” so that “you hit the targets you’re going for.”

Among the research applications Brown cited were product development and marketing, to help you create the right offering; volume estimation, to understand the size of opportunities; corporate branding, to protect your reputation; advertising, to create demand; competition, to defend and attack competitors effectively; and strategic direction, to invest where the greatest return on investment will come from.

Seth Gordon, direct of consumer research for automobile information provider, said that he conducts research to “level the playing field on decision making.” Decisions are sometimes based on arbitrary information, but research provides solid facts that can lead to increased ROI: “Carpenters figured it out long ago with ‘measure twice, cut once,’” Gordon said.

To determine the cost-effectiveness of a research project, Brown suggested quantifying the risk of an uninformed decision—determining how much money and how many customers a marketing blunder could cost you, for instance—and then estimating the research costs, including hidden labor expenses and the length of time required.