Make the Most of Market Research
A Numbers Game
While anecdotal data can provide you with a good deal of creative insight into the consumer's mind and purchasing process, for some products, there is just no substitute for quantitative information when structuring your sales message.
When people are shopping for insurance, points out Friesen, the buying decision usually comes down to premiums and pay-outs more than emotion. "In those cases, numbers really do influence the decision," says Friesen. "Research and that type of background is incredibly useful here." Data on the demographics of your audience and what offers like individuals have responded to before will deliver crucial insight.
The same is true in B-to-B mailings, where the reader is someone very used to looking at numbers. For these mailings, look for research that provides statistics that will strengthen your sell, such as cost-savings, increased productivity ratios or conversion rates other customers have experienced from your product. Not only will this get through to the prospect, but also will give him the facts he needs to get buy-in from other decision-makers within the company.
But paying attention to numbers doesn't mean that your research has to lose its human appeal. One type of market research that Friesen often uses is cohort analysis, where the larger customer universe is broken down into groups of like people. This style of data representation can have a strong demographic slant, but Friesen prefers to give it a human touch. "I take the cohort that I'm talking to and I try to come up with the epitome of that individual, so that I can write my copy to her. It's one thing to have information about the group that's likely to buy, but you don't write direct response copy to a group of people. You write to an individual."