Q1 Turns to Q2 – Where Are You in Your Marketing Plan?

By Dave Tan, VP, Innovation and Product Development

It’s time for the marketing gut check. Depending on your company’s fiscal year, right now Q1 is rolling into Q2. As the media industry reports feed into marketing budgets, everyone is looking about to see what has worked so far, and what’s new to explore and test out throughout 2010.

In my opinion, this is a key time to look at beta testing new initiatives and new marketing programs. There’s plenty of hype and discussions as to what to get into, from location-based mobile applications like foursquare and gowalla, to Facebook applications that replicate complete websites, to mobile advertising among many others. All of these programs are fantastic programs to get into and many brands/companies are having great success in engaging with their core targets in these new platforms. Include the iPad, Twitter, video, and other social networks and I am sure every marketer is looking to figure out how to test those platforms out. However, the most important step that often gets overlooked is consumer research.

At Resolution Media, all of these new digital marketing initiatives are being tested and experimented with. Why are we delving into new areas that are outside of search? Simply put, it all starts with consumer behavior and research. This is one of our core areas of expertise as we are continually monitoring consumers and their behaviors online, how they search, and ultimately what content they are interacting with. This consumer focused mindset is very important for search marketing, but leads to many other marketing insights that we can consult or recommend on.

Who are your 2010 target consumers? Are they different than the 2009 targets? What’s different? Where do they spend their time online? What are they engaging with online? Why? Are there any changes to the prospective targets or customers? Are there changes to where they spend their time? Are there different platforms? Answering some of these key questions can help solidify which beta program to test out, and fight the shiny new ball syndrome that many marketers face. Quick search research, email surveys, 3rd party data pulls, consumer insights research, and qualitative research can point out what would be effective test programs. I also don’t mean three month sessions of multiple focus groups across the country. This could be research done in a few weeks.

Looking to develop a mobile app? Just from my own experiences traveling in the past month, I would say that practically a good third of Chicago “El” riders now have an iPhone or a DROID and many business travelers are toting iPhones over blackberries. Certainly there are plenty of research studies from eMarketer and other places that have more accurate stats, but if one of your target audiences is urban commuters in the 25 – 55 range, iPhone/DROID apps maybe the right thing to start testing out right now. Is your target on Hulu or YouTube? Are they searching for videos and other forms of digital content that you have? What are they looking for? All these types of questions can be answered through quick research. But again, before you jump right into development or new marketing plans, take the time to research your target’s digital behavior. In the best case, it will validate what your gut thinks, and in the worst case, it might tell you to spend effort elsewhere because your target isn’t there yet.


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