The Importance of Research in Marketing


If you’ve visited our AFFIRM Agency Process page on our website, you know that we’ve used our proprietary SMART process to develop effective marketing campaigns since 2004. Let’s review the 5 steps that make up this process:

Situation Analysis

Marketing Strategies

Application & Execution

Review and Refine

Total Success

In this blog post, we are going to discuss the “S” phase of the SMART process: Situation Analysis. In this phase, we delve into our clients’ challenges, goals, competitors and target audiences using a mix of primary and secondary research.

Why the emphasis on research? Because it provides critical information that will guide us in developing our overall marketing plan, creative deliverables and media strategy. Research provides benchmarks from which our efforts will be measured in attaining our clients’ marketing goals!

What do we hope to find out during the Situation Analysis?

  • A thorough understanding of a client’s industry, what the market thinks of our client and an understanding of the competitive challenges they face that will help us set attainable goals for providing a benchmark of awareness or sales from which our efforts will be judged. This research is sometimes available from secondary sources, but during this step we may also identify the need to go to the market and do qualitative research such as focus groups to see if we can get more insight into how our audience feels and then follow up with quantitative research using tactics like online/ email/phone surveys to measure how common these perceptions may be and to help identify specific steps we might take to change these perceptions.
  • An understanding of our client’s customers or target audience – who they are, what resonates with them, why they make buying decisions, what path they take to those decisions, and of course, how to best communicate with them efficiently and effectively. Much of this information is available from published sources or services like Scarborough that we subscribe to, but we may also add questions to quantitative research that we are doing to gain more market specific insight into our audience’s buying and media behavior.
  • Insight into the development of our creative strategy – once we understand the market and the audience – we need to develop creative messaging and materials that will resonate with them and encourage them to take the desired action. For this step, we may also recommend a mix of qualitative and quantitative primary research to test different messages and creative concepts to see which will be more effective in engaging our audience.

Finally, throughout the effort and upon completion of a campaign, we need to do research to see if we’ve been successful in meeting its goals and objectives – how has our campaign moved the needle in terms of increased sales, modified behaviors, social media feedback, website visits, and other actions that were part of our client’s campaign goals.

A thorough Situation Analysis including primary and secondary research is a necessary first step in understanding our client’s reality in order to begin the development of a strategic marketing plan or campaign. Interested to see how this might work for you? Contact us for more information at info@affirmagency.com or call 262-650-9900!


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