A multi-national business services agency recently completed a series of business acquisitions, all while experiencing increased competition in their home market. The organization knew they needed to revitalize their presence at home and build awareness for their services in new geographies. As the team begin mobilizing their marketing efforts, they sought a way to benchmark their current brand awareness levels to determine how well their marketing activities were impacting reputational growth.
We developed a market research study that allowed us to both measure the awareness key decision makers had of the agency and its competitors as well as gather data to help inform future marketing strategy work. Because any market research project comes with built-in overhead fees, it’s often possible to add in incremental questions to achieve secondary objectives while still achieving the core goal. To maximize our client’s budgets, we did just that.
Screener Criteria One of the most critical elements of any research study is determining who you want to collect data from. After all, without collecting feedback from the right types of respondents you won’t have credible data. That’s why we spent ample time upfront honing in on the professional demographics (e.g. title, industry, function) and professional psychographics (e.g. had a role in selecting or influencing agency decisions) that were required to ensure we surveyed the “right” people.
Measuring Aided Awareness We first asked respondents to share which agencies they were aware of from a given list, a process called measuring “aided” awareness. Unlike unaided awareness, where respondents are asked to provide names without any lists, aided awareness is beneficial when it’s thought that top-of-mind recall may be low.
Building Marketing Strategy Intelligence In addition to awareness-related questions, we also included questions to help understand how well decision makers understand and can differentiate services offered by the agency as well as which factors or characteristics are most important when selecting this type of agency.
The agency enjoyed the following benefits upon completing the market research project:
Awareness Benchmarking The agency received a clear read on the market’s awareness of their firm as well as the market’s awareness of key competitors. Not only did they have an objective number they could use to benchmark changes in awareness over time but they also had a concrete measure to use with internal stakeholders and convince them of the need for incremental marketing investments.
Marketing Strategy Opportunity Identification The research identified that decision makers can’t differentiate certain services from each other. It also isolated gaps in the characteristics decision makers look for when selecting this kind of agency and how the agency was perceived. These data points allowed the agency’s marketing team to home in on marketing content opportunities to educate prospects and change overall perceptions.
Study Replicability By documenting the methodology, we ensured that the survey could be repeated as often as necessary. This ensures that future “reads” of aided awareness are done in exactly the same way and are credible longitudinal benchmarks.