News and views to improve the strength and vigor of all your direct response marketing activity.

More and more, we are facing greater competition to attract the attention of the same pool of prospects.

So how can you build your brand and stand out in the marketplace — and motivate your target audience(s) to act? Let’s take a look at a hotbed category like health care.

Research: The secret ingredient to successful direct response.

“The customer is always right.” It’s an age-old adage. And it’s been right all through the ages. Your customers know what they want — all you have to do is figure out what will motivate them to buy! Not so easy, though. And that’s where astute use of research comes in. Get all the answers you need with research designed and applied with an eye to direct response discipline.

Whether you handle your own research or work with an agency, there’s a 5-step process to help you succeed. We’ll share complete details later in this post.

Quantitative really gets the query going!

There are two kinds of research: Qualitative and Quantitative, and both are valuable tools in marketing.

Qualitative provides you with directional insight, while Quantitative provides more empirical results. Utilizing both types, you’ll be able to better understand your marketplace in general as well as your target audience’s feelings about your brand, your products and your services. So what’s the best way to start?

First, compile a list of specific questions about your brand and your industry to create custom research. From there, you’ll be able to see:

  • How to get your targets’ attention — Is it customer service, or product quality, or convenience?

  • What’s the best way to refer to them — Do they like to be called “millennials,” “active adults,” fill in the _____ ?

  • Which offer would they most likely respond to — Would they prefer free information or some kind of swag?

When that’s all said and done, you’re not quite done: you still need to develop strong creative messaging and an offer. But based on what you have now you are poised to develop strategies and creative messaging that hits all the hot buttons you uncovered through research. And, be sure all your creative has a persuasive call to action that gets prospects to respond!

Your customers know what they want — all you have to do is figure out what will motivate them to buy!

A real-world success story from a DMW health care client.

We can’t tell you the name. But we can share the gist, and the grist, from behind the scenes … Our client operates in the highly competitive health care space, and many new players had been entering their marketplace. Their objective was to differentiate their brand from new and existing competitors, and most importantly, continue to grow their market share.

To do that a stronger value proposition was needed to promote in market — one that resonated more with the targets, strengthened brand awareness, and ultimately generated leads and conversions.

That’s where research came in: Our client wanted the research, and DMW took the lead to get it done.

Now we’re a creative agency. We could simply invent a new and novel approach. But wouldn’t it be smarter (and safer) to KNOW that what we developed would resonate with the consumer?

So, instead of “just” inventing some new creative, together with our client we worked with a renowned market research firm to develop a custom study — one specific to our client’s service, customer base and desired new prospect universe, and geography, both geographical and competitive. And as we referenced above, we compiled our own unique set of questions built on those principles, to learn more about the makeup of our target audiences (aka: psychographics) — and what would appeal to them.

For example, we wanted to better understand how people 50+ see themselves, so we positioned questions for various buckets of people over age 50. Our objectives were things like defining how they like the term “senior,” and determining what imagery comes to mind when they think of being “healthy.”

Key tactical elements for our research included:

• Online survey panels to deliver quicker results

• Word clouds for easy association

• Rating scores to help hone in on winning messaging

• Max-differential rankings to discover what really resonates with your audience

• Visuals with accompanying data to support our proposition for brand differentiation

Armed with these insights, we were better able to capitalize on them — and bring them to life in our creative via the look and feel, and messaging. The jury is still out on our results, but early data has shown promising success!

Get all the answers you need with research designed and applied with an eye to direct response discipline.

How to create and implement custom research for your business.

You can pick your way through the process above, which we admit can get daunting. Especially if you’ve not done it before. Or you could partner with a full-service agency such as DMW. For decades, we’ve been working with clients to find out what makes their customers tick — and then leveraging that data to generate leads and conversions.

Whether you take the DIY route, or work with an agency partner, there are proven touchstones to help assure your success.

Follow this 5-step process to create your path forward:

1. Don’t ignore the benefits of research for more effective marketing

2. Have an open dialogue throughout the research project — it’s a client/agency partnership, and collaboration helps it succeed

3. Carefully craft your research questionnaire and discussion guide, and set up the mechanism to uncover your findings, e.g., online survey

4. Synthesize and apply the research findings to uncover consumers’ key motivators/pain points

  • a. Update your brand’s value proposition — DMW uses Action Branding™ methodology to determine the “What’s In It For Me” for prospects and customers

  • b. Refine your brand messaging to dial up or tone down the right creative (copy and art) that will resonate with target audiences and get them to respond, i.e., call, click, and convert

5. Determine strategies for moving forward AND for what to avoid

  • a. Think immediate, short-term, and long-term changes that will help boost the performance of your marketing, and generate a better ROI

  • b. Shelve any messaging that research showed was a turn-off for target audiences or a hinderance to brand support/response

Don’t wait to uncover what that true competitive edge is for your brand.

Contact DMW today and let’s put together smart, cost-effective research to help your business stand out — and grow market share.