When devising a marketing strategy or figuring out where to take your advertising next, it is important to use data points and pull concrete information to make decisions. Don’t get hung up on only quantitative data from surveys though, there are many other places to look. Here are some of my go-tos.
Take an inventory of all your photo assets. First, start with the ones on your website, advertisements, and social media posts. Then search through Dropbox (or wherever you house your photo library) and make sure you look at what is available to you. What do you see?
- Are the photographs recent?
- Are they showing diversity?
- Are they representative of all your marketing personas?
- Do they invoke emotion in your consumer?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, it’s time to figure out how photography can bring your strategy to the next level.
(Communify team thinking through UX strategy)
Historical Trends / Current Events
Educate yourself on global happenings. Even if what’s going on in the world doesn’t seem like it directly affects your business, it probably has some impact. Politics, health, and financial stories tend to have trickle-down effects throughout the whole economy. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Last time there was a major financial crisis, what happened in my industry? How can I be prepared?
- We are often very politically sorted, meaning that we tend to associate with people who agree with us politically and dismiss the other side. Are you getting both perspectives?
- What could a future health crisis mean for your business? Are there any other ‘unforeseeable events’ that could impact you similarly?
As COVID showed us, we can never be too prepared for disaster.
Focus Groups / User Testing
Research is great, but often you can’t beat the value of someone actually using your product or service. Make sure your test subjects are people outside of your organization so they give feedback with no biases or preconceived opinions. Getting an outside perspective can often drastically change the direction of your strategy or product and can help catch things your team missed. Here are the steps I would follow:
- Figure out what product you want to test or what ideas you want to run by your focus group
- Pick people who match your marketing personas and are diverse in terms of gender, age, and ethnicity
- Have these users test your product. If they are user testing, watch them interact with the product. If you are getting their feelings on a topic, record each answer to see if there are notable differences between demographics.
This data is arguably the most helpful of any other type of data but is often very costly. If you are on a tight budget, this may not be for you.
(Focus Group discussion)
Social Media Comments
Social media comments can be a great insight into how your consumers are viewing your brand. Take the comments with a grain of salt as social media comments can often be nasty or rude, but on the flip side, people tend to be very honest on social media as they are hiding behind their screen. Oh, and of course, ignore trolls. Some tips:
- Take note of what photos have the most and least amount of likes
- Is there a common thread in what people are discussing in your comments? How are you addressing this?
- Is your brand getting any negative comments? Can these comments show a change that you should be engaging in? Think of the backlash companies are getting based on their lack of diversity today.
Social media can be a dangerous echo chamber, but it also is one of the cheapest and fastest ways to get your communication out there and garner feedback. Make it work for you.
Statistics and figures
Although this article was mostly about data that didn’t fall under this category, I felt it was important to touch on. Gather any hard data that you can find. Statistics leave the guesswork out of your strategy and clients tend to really like them. Here’s are some places to look:
- Your email opens and clicks
- Social media engagement
- Take a survey of past customers and ask questions that provide quantitative data
- Google! There is likely a lot of research already done for your industry