It can be a struggle to keep up with how consumers think, feel and behave. As marketers and communicators, it is essential to research our audience’s thoughts and habits then adjust our strategies in response. Putting quality research in the hands of decision makers leads to action. The true value of audience research is in the ability to use it to make decisions.
Taking the guesswork out of advertising strategy
We start with a problem and a theory. As an example, we’ll use a quick case study about a hospital.
Problem / Challenge
A hospital needed to increase market share for emergency department visits. Without going out and physically causing accidents to pad the numbers, we needed to find out how patients were currently finding emergency facilities in order to be more effective with our marketing strategy.
The initial hypothesis was that a good portion of the population doesn’t search online for an emergency department.
Using online surveys to conduct audience research
If you have ever been asked a question prior to viewing content on a website, there is a good chance you have responded to a Google Survey. What you may not know is that each survey is distributed across a network of publishers in different content categories to ensure a wide mix of respondents.
In this example, we asked 503 Louisiana residents how they would find an emergency room and had the results in a couple of days. To the consumer, it looks something like this:
Using survey results to answer questions about audience behaviour
Our research found that only thirty-nine percent of respondents would rely on memory to find an emergency room.
Our investigation went a step further to uncover if age was a factor in if, and how, they would seek hospital information.
Using survey insights to answer your audience research theories
In this example, the research implies that older audiences depend on their previous experience and memory at a much higher rate than their younger counterparts. We’d consider a branding campaign to stay top of mind for this group. We know that over sixty percent of respondents are relying on sources of information beyond what is in their head. This preliminary research shows some fragmentation among preferences.
Our biggest surprise was the staggering amount of “other.” We know anecdotally that some people call a hospital to get directions. This could account for some of those responses.
Based on this simple poll, we have a path forward. Changing behaviors can be tricky but based on the knowledge we gained memory and preconceived notions are a big selection factor, especially among older users. The combined influence of search and GPS navigation reaches a third of the younger audience, especially when they need to make a fast decision. We also know we have more work to do to uncover the behavior behind the respondents that reported, “other.” Next steps include:
- Reach patients that rely on memory by emphasizing branding
- Consider solutions that put our brand in front of GPS and search users
- Perform additional research to uncover the unknown influences
Part of the beauty of research is that we have an opportunity to go back and ask more questions.
If you want to know more about this survey and survey design, give us a call, we are happy to help.