Researching Your Competitors’ Campaign Support

Practically every marketing campaign today has a social media component to it. As you see a competitor launch a major marketing campaign, scan the web and the competitor’s website for that campaign’s digital and social components. The social activity surrounding the campaign (elsewhere on the web) gives you a sense of how successful it is and how much it helps the brand. Also, watch prominent bloggers in that product category: They may be part of an outreach program and could be promoting the campaign.

Conducting qualitative research

Using the free tools and observing competitor activity is all well and good. But more often than not, you need to conduct qualitative research that doesn’t just tell you what your consumers are doing, but also the goals, needs, and aspirations that drive their behavior. Here, there’s good news and bad news.

First, the good news. Qualitative research, as you probably know it in the traditional marketing world, hasn’t changed. You can still use interviews, focus groups, shadowing, and other ethnographic research techniques to understand your consumers. There are dozens of authoritative books on the subject — including a few excellent ones from the For Dummies series, such as Marketing For Dummies, by Alexander Hiam (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) — on qualitative research, so I won’t go into those research formats. All the same best practices of recruiting effectively, knowing your objectives, and having good ...

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