In The Name Of Research Marketing (for Startups)

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If you are a startup chances are you have a limited budget for marketing. Actually that is good. You have to be creative. Traditional ATL campaigns rarely work for startups. They are not so cost effective and they require higher budgets than you can probably afford. Social media might seen the answer but whenever I hear a startup pitch and they mention ‚creative social media campaign’ I fear for them. And I feel for them. To be honest, social media is not an easy territory. Especially Facebook. This platform does require either extremely fresh ideas and a lot of time or extremely fresh ideas and a lot of money. Or both. What to do then? Well, try ‚In the name of research marketing’.

In the name of research marketing – what is that exactly?

You know what is research. Well conducting some sort of research is the key factor to this strategy. Say you have a startup that has come up with extremely innovative technology that helps map the facial micro-expressions, making it possible to read people’s emotions in real time. And that is possible for less money than ever before. The best way to talk about this product, technology or linked services is via research showing its possible applications. That seems easy. But it will only work if the research conducted is interesting enough to be shared by media. Research is fascinating but it also has to result in some sort of a sticky content. Like porn.

Pornhub knew better. Much better.

Pornhub is not a startup per se but their innovative approach to marketing makes a perfect case study. Not only where they the first to advertise and promote in traditional media but they engaged everyone – even people who would not admit they know what Pornhub is. And why? Because they did it in a very creative ‚user generated content’ campaign. But because they also came up with Pornhub Insights – a research platform that shows very interesting data on cybersex. And more. The content and the quantitive research they provide is highly contagious. And shareable. But most of all it is not pornographic so it serves as a gateway to adult content without being porn at all. Kudos for that.

Blisstery Lab – sexting, texting, fun.

When working with Blisstery – the startup that makes sex chat beautiful – we’ve come up with a similar concept. A research lab that would look into the online sex habits regarding interpersonal communication. You know what I mean – sexting, texting and stuff. Things that would explain our behaviour and make it more widely understood. To achieve that we are gathering experts, setting goals, look into different areas of communication and make different hypotheses. After all research is research. Of course it is not a strictly scientific lab but after all even Masters and Johnson research team, composed of William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson, who pioneered research into the nature of human sexual response and the diagnosis and treatment of sexual disorders and dysfunctions, started off in ‚not-such-scientific-way’.

Ellen score. That’s the way to go

One of the most promising polish startups is Quantum LAB. They ‚teach computers how people feel’ by working on technologies that can map the human micro-expressions. That is they help computers read human emotions. Their main product Ellen Technology is a revolutionary online tool in the field of market research, which allows to recognise and analyse emotions in real time only on the grounds of facial mimics. Ellen helps market researchers conduct fast and efficient studies about emotional reactions towards TV commercials at respondents’ place. How do you market something like that? Well, by showing via ‚in the name of research campaigns’ the possible applications. For example by conducting the research on ‚which TV ads are really effective’ or by researching ‚which pitching techniques really work on the viewers’. This way not only you gather interesting data but show a various spectrum of application. That is what media likes. That is what the world likes. And that is the way to go.

What you need and why you need it?

When you decide to base your marketing efforts or part of it on ‚In the name of research campaigns’ you need to remember a few things. First of all you need to find ideas to research. Those should be in the spectrum of your product application or somehow support the idea behind your startup. You need to act like a research team. The hypothesis, the ways to research them, the calibration of the research method, the tools and the subjects. It’s best if the subjects are somehow part of your target audience or… are influencers. Don’t be afraid to learn from the best. Like Dove who came up with a lot of concepts researching how women view themselves in media and stuff. Researching is fun. But it is also about honesty so do not fake the research and do not lie. After all you are too good to lie. ‚In the name of research campaigns’ can be part of product trial and seeding campaigns. That is the way to testing your product with a research tools. Either way – research is good for startups. Even if you do not want to use it in your marketing communication.

PS: I hope you’ll soon hear about the research projects I do for startups. In the meantime, please share your ideas in comments.