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Market research agencies know well that Christmas offers many opportunities for brands and businesses to capitalise on the festivities. However, it is vital that they also gather insight this year to shape their strategy for next year’s campaigns. As planning for Christmas tends to take place well in advance, it is important that brands and businesses are gathering valuable insight now.

Bo Mattsson
Bo Mattsson

In a world where the different modes of marketing span many platforms and techniques, it is essential that brands and businesses regularly evaluate each one to ensure those chosen provide the appropriate return for the budget spent. With access to niche audiences and the latest survey technology, market researchers are well placed to help with this critical evaluation. Here are some guidelines market researchers should follow when helping brands plan for next Christmas.

Learn from others in the same space – whilst it seems sensible to gather insight on a brand’s own campaigns, market research agencies should encourage them to take an interest in what competitors are running at Christmas time and what really works (as well as what doesn’t).  A lot can be learned from observing the efforts of others and monitoring the response. For example, the notoriety of the John Lewis Christmas adverts means they are eagerly awaited every year, and therefore there is a perceived popularity of these, with a real hype created around them. However, a recent study conducted by Cint with the emotion measurement analysis firm, Realeyes, revealed that the latest advert, The Bear and the Hare, proved less engaging with consumers than those from 2011 and 2012 respectively. Retailers are going down the route of magical, perfect family Christmas images but perhaps these are becoming too ‘perfect’ and aren’t resonating with ‘normal’ families. This illustrates how important it is to gain actual opinion rather than relying on what is perceived.

Ensure an integrated approach comprises the right elementsmarket researchers should help brands identify whether there is merit in an integrated approach, or certainly which tactics are working together well. Brands are increasingly choosing multiple consumer ‘touchpoints’. For instance, a Sainsbury’s advert appears on the TV and minutes later, the consumer is hit with an online advertisement whilst surfing on a tablet device. These tactics are becoming ever more popular as people’s attention spans are dwindling – many simultaneously watching TV whilst surfing online or engaging in social media. This is where the evaluation of which campaigns capture the attention of the target audience, as well as which medium is the most effective, is key to making the right decisions for next year. Market researchers can help brands by choosing quality panels for survey sampling, made up of the right demographic for accurate insight. In addition, creating focus groups or tapping into existing forums could be a good market intelligence gathering channel.

Get emotional – as already detailed, providers of emotional measurement intelligence can be invaluable when a brand is looking to gain a true picture of how a marketing tactic makes the audience feel. For instance, the difference between what people see and feel and what they say they see and feel as part of a research panel, can vary greatly. The use of such intelligent technology might involve a bigger investment, but is warranted where a big spend might be involved in a current or future campaign.

Cint Logo
Cint Logo

The market research agency should be the brand’s best friend at this time of year and agencies should ensure they are maximising this opportune time, whilst making brands aware of the scope to optimise campaigns for 2014.

About the Author
Bo Mattsson is the chief executive of Cint, a global provider of technology for creating online survey panels and obtaining market insight. Bo founded Cint in 1998 when he decided to apply his experience of trading online to the market research industry. He then took over as CEO in 2003 to revamp the core technology behind the market research tools and research panels into an exchange-based offering for respondent access. For further information, please visit www.cint.com.