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Disneyland, Facebook Stalking & BribingThe Benefits of Primary & Secondary Research
When it comes to our clients, first comes the contract. Then the signature. Then the cheers! After celebratory confetti is vacuumed off the floor, the research begins. For every hard-won project, there’s a complementary data set waiting to be discovered.
Data keeps us honest and ensures a fresh, creative direction. It’s also a great way to narrow down audiences and deliver better campaign results. Better campaign results will begat happier clients. Happier clients begat award opportunities. Award opportunities begat referrals … you get the picture.
Research and data are a part of the job but distilling stats and using them strategically is a skill that can be translated into everyday life. You’ve almost certainly practiced primary and secondary research today, whether you realize it or not!
Let’s put primary and secondary research methods to use, using summer vacation planning as an example. Primary research would include:
- Interviews: Asking co-workers where they would go, or where they visited last year
- Surveys: Asking family to write a destination on a piece of paper, fold it up and drop it in a hat to share their thoughts anonymously
- Focus Groups: Commandeering a conversation with your peers at lunch to discuss the pros and cons of Disney World
- Paid Data: Slipping the kids $5 to research their mom’s favorite roadtrip snacks before she gets hangry
- Competitive Analysis: Researching your ex's trip to Disney via Facebook
Secondary research is a good, old-fashioned Google search. But don’t stop at Wikipedia and call it a day - that won’t land you at the best, off-the-beaten-path boutique hotel. For secondary research, dig deep into:
- Government Studies and Agency Reports: Is the U.S. Department of State advising against that resort in Cancun right now?
- Fact Sheets: Did Lonely Planet create a new walking tour in Key West?
- White Papers and Journals: Maybe you stumble on a report on travel risk assessment.
Go through the research checklist above whenever you encounter a topic that needs a deep-dive — whether that’s vacation spots or something loftier — to keep your focus narrow and your goal front-of-mind.