Category Archives: Best Practices

Best Practices in Market Research

10 Freelancer Best Practices for Strategists, Planners and Researchers

freelancer on computer and phone

According to The 2015/2016 Strategist Survey Report, created by Heather LeFevre, Freelance Strategist, freelancers in our field work as many hours per week as they’d like. So for an educated, experienced, working freelancer like the 2556 strategists who took her survey, freelancing meets their career, and life, goals.  How to make it work for you?  Following are 10 freelancer best practices.

1. Find the right amount of independence/support in a team.

Some freelancers want to accept an assignment, work independently, and provide results.  Others prefer to work more closely with a team, collaborating on process, interim deliverables and recommendations.  Either approach can be effective depending on the style and needs of your client.  Just make sure you’re setting and meeting expectations before you start.

2. Communicate intelligently.

Set up times to check in with your client and respond to communications in between.  Sending Continue reading

Graphic: Content & Customer Service Drive Trust in Marketing

Brands work hard to get in front of buyers. It’s important to keep in mind how important consistency and other elements that build trust are in converting prospects to buyers and in keeping current buyers from going elsewhere. The graphic below, created by Ghergich & Co. for Salesforce Canada, shows how online, email and offsite Content and responsive Customer Service combine to help business marketers create an atmosphere of trust. Continue reading

How to Stay Sharp Over the Holidays: A Few Holiday Tips

cat sleeping during holidays

Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to get back into the work mindset after the holidays? You’re in vacation mode and you dread the full inbox and the 9am status meeting or client call. It takes weeks to get back into the swing of things and projects ultimately fall behind. But it doesn’t have to be like that. The best way to start strong is to not lose momentum in the first place.

I know what you’re thinking: I don’t mean continuing to work over the holiday! That would have the opposite effect—everyone needs time off to recharge, so turn off your phone and leave the work laptop at the office. But there are some things you can do to make returning to work more enjoyable. Here are five holiday tips:

1. Organize before you leave

Instead of leaving issues unsettled , take a few minutes to send emails to contractors who need Continue reading

john atherton, field work, anthropology and marketing

5 Things Anthropologists Can Teach You About Being a Better Marketer

anthropology and marketing, ethnography, digital ethnography, marketing

What’s the best way to get through hundreds of pages of dense theoretical readings you have very little background in? By relating it to the knowledge you already have. In my case, I’m working on a Master’s in social anthropology and I’ve found that the discipline has taught me a lot about being a better content marketer and social media guru.

Here are 5 concepts you can use to become a better marketer: Continue reading

7 Tips for a Productive Marketing Innovation Process

Brainstorming SessionI’ve been involved in both the upfront and the testing phases of innovation and have seen and heard from clients what works and what doesn’t. The first step in marketing innovation is to gather your best ideas in one place. Before brainstorming, it helps to understand the needs and wants of your market. What’s the best way to do this? Ask them.

Here are 7 tips for getting a productive start on the innovation process:

1. Start with the voice of the consumer.

While it’s true that consumers don’t always have your next great idea (see Quirky’s bankruptcy notice for an example of this in action), they do know what they like. Send them on a shopping expedition and follow along, or talk to a group of them about their visit to your competition.

Listen for the need states underneath their preferences and for themes that emerge across Continue reading

15 Traits of a Great Market Research Consultant

Urban Modern DeskIn 2010, a study by Intuit predicted that 40% of the US workforce would be contingent workers – that is, freelancers and consultants – by 2020. Today, we’re halfway to that year and it appears that we have already hit 34% of the workforce engaged as independent contractors, freelancers, and moonlighters.

It’s a significant shift in the mindset we have about work and employment – some are even blaming our slow economic recovery on this change. Whether you’re a researcher looking to go out on your own or a client that wants to hire a market research consultant, recognizing these traits will help you get the most out of your choice.

1.    Client-focused

A good marketing research consultant is more interested in meeting the needs of the clients than furthering their own agenda. It doesn’t mean bending to a clients’ every whim, just understanding what they want from a project and guiding them towards the best way to get it.

2.    Good listener

You need to be a good listener – what clients say they want isn’t always what they need. Continue reading

Strong Employer Branding Drives Consumer Brands

Office worker walking out of the door after quitting.In the depth of the Great Recession, many people took pay cuts, yet considered themselves lucky to still have a job. With few options to change jobs, the niceties surrounding choice of employer took a backseat to the realities of survival. Unfortunately, in this “jobless recovery”, this is often still the case.

But one little-noted side effect of Obamacare, as both skeptics and supporters now call it, is that insurance has become decoupled from employment. Uninsured workers can buy their own coverage. And those lucky enough to have employer sponsored healthcare can’t be turned down for new coverage due to preexisting conditions. This means salaried workers can entertain self-employment or working for a smaller employer without the golden handcuffs of corporate insurance keeping them in place. Knowing your employees have more freedom, you may, like many companies, be returning to the idea of Employer Branding.

It Exists in the Minds of Current and Prospective Employees

An employer brand means the idea of your company in the minds of current and potential employees. It is based on everything they see, hear or experience, before and after considering working for the company. A strong employment brand translates to excited prospective employees, ease of filling positions and your choice of the strongest applicants. Continue reading

4 Ways to Build Customer Relationships for More Brand Loyalty

Transparency, Market Research, Creative Rewards Key.

Worn, muddy hiking bootsBusiness growth is often associated with bringing in new customers; however, loyal customers actually account for more purchase volume and a lower cost. In short, it costs less to retain customers than to acquire new ones and they have higher long-term value. While it is important to develop new products and connect with prospective buyers, building brand loyalty is a vehicle to a profitable business.

Loyal customers are easy to reach (lowering sales & marketing costs), offer qualified referrals, and in the best case become brand ambassadors. Once the sale is complete, the next task becomes creating an enduring brand relationship with your satisfied customer. Here are some tips to help you build customer relationships to increase brand loyalty.

1.  Foster a community

Give your customers a place to gather together, ask and answer questions, and engage with the brand and its other buyers. This allows customers to have constant access to relevant and Continue reading

How to Tell if Too Much Brand Loyalty is Holding You Back

When to look past your brand fanatics and develop wider brand loyalty.

Girl gets national flag colors painted on her cheek for soccer match.Brand fans love you, passionately, and tell everyone they can. They know your founding story, use social media to tell others, and feel deeply hurt if you disappoint them. MBA class case studies love to tell stories of intense brand loyalty. Think Harley Davidson.

But sometimes Brand Fanatics keep a brand stuck and on the defensive. While few will admit it, there are times when you may need to look beyond those most glued to your brand. Here are some clues:

1. Your marketing team thinks that all of your buyers are Brand Fanatics.

I’ve worked with some brands over the years that were astonished to learn that not all of their buyers met the description of those loyalists they had encountered in pre-research days. It was a big change of mindset to learn that many of their buyers didn’t really think about their brand all that often. Continue reading

Advertising Research: Add Insights to Your Ads

7 Tips on Adding Consumer Research to Your Agency Team

Times Square Shows How Advertising Research WorksAdvertising, design and digital agencies are vital to the life of a brand. They add metaphor and visual appeal to even mundane products and connect companies to buyers. What you can’t see, however, may be even more important – the advertising research that drives the strategy upon which your agency’s work is based.

Large, full-service agencies may have strategy, research and planning departments, with the expertise to bring consumer insights to the creative table. Smaller agencies may have excellent strategists as partners, with their pulse on your industry.

But it’s ultimately up to you, the client, to make sure your agency has sound strategic insights to make its work smart and effective. Your agency’s brand planning approach, will be more effective if its consumer perspectives are based on research.

1. Agree on the ground rules before beginning a client-agency relationship.

Continue reading