In marketing, a phrase that you hear from time to time is to never trust a sample of one. Simply, when doing brand research, you would never talk with only one person. Your audience may have similarities in the stories that brought them to you (interests, shared experiences, etc.), but each of their stories is wildly different. Bigger yet, the biggest mistake that “marketing pros” make is they have a research sample of one, and that one is themselves.
Here’s how I know this is true: how many times have you created something (product, ad, video, etc.) and you were sure it was going to perform well. You spent countless hours putting it together, polishing the edges, and could hardly wait to share what you made. Can you guess what happens next? It flops. You’re shocked. You were sure that it was the exact right move at the exact right time. Inversely, another time, you put something together in a hurry, you have to rush it for one reason or another, or you’re just not as proud of it as you could be. You release it and guess what happens, people love it. You can’t believe it.
This is how I know we are not our best marketing samples. We know the product well, and we generally have a grasp on our audience. But it’s easy to let our subjective thoughts get in the way. So, how do we combat this?
How We Can Avoid Having a Research Sample of One
There are a few ways we can look to receive relevant feedback on our work outside of just our own thoughts. Below are a few ideas on how we can avoid having a research sample of one.
Create a group of trusted advisors
The biggest place to start is to have a trusted group of advisors. This is a group that you can trust to keep the information confidential and can provide valuable feedback. Ensure they come from different backgrounds. Diversity of opinion is gold. If there are never any disagreements among your advisors about the best way to approach a branding challenge, it’s time to look for some fresh ideas.
Create margin in the budget and calendar
Branding research does not need to be expensive. There are simple ways of getting audience feedback that does not break the budget or are even free. There are a few key points to plan for before you start brand research:
- Benchmark Organic & Direct Indicators
- Ask your audience
We put together an article on how to measure branding campaigns. This will give you several tools and starting points for learning more about your audience.
Additionally, you need to make the time for it. If budget is a concern, start leveraging the channels and social media accounts you already own to share a survey. Free surveys can be built using forms like SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, or Google Surveys.
Prepare to be humbled
When you welcome feedback, prepare for some comments that may not make you feel good, but the important part is to remember that the person giving the feedback is the one purchasing what you have to offer. Their thoughts and feelings are critical to the lifeblood of your business.
It’s helpful to flip the paradigm and appreciate the feedback you receive, even if it’s critical. It may save you from making a mistake or potentially wasting your time going down a path you do not need to.
Lastly, remember to thank participants for taking the time to give you their valuable feedback. A question to ask yourself: are there any creative ways to reward them that align with your brand?
If you follow these steps, you’ll be well on your way to some great ideas that resonate with your audience!