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Case Study - Research in Action

Business Situation
A B2B service provider was preparing to launch a major trade-focused ad campaign targeted to financial advisors, including print, online and television spots.

Near-term information was needed to gauge reactions to the planned message strategy and creative; over the long term, the firm wanted to gauge the success of its campaign in quantitative terms to inform future communications strategies and budget decisions.

Used combination of qualitative (focus groups) and quantitative research (online pre-post ad testing) among the target ad audience to achieve objectives.

In addition to providing quick feedback on content, the qualitative research allowed the agency and client team to hear firsthand prospects’ reactions and perceptions. 

The quantitative pre-post design provided a controlled presentation of stimuli (including video clips) for both client's and competitors’ ads to provide a framework for understanding client scores.

Through focus groups, we focused on understanding reactions to ad content: What did financial advisors think of the ad’s message; did it resonate? How well did they understand the message? Was it credible?

In online testing, we focused on understanding changes in perception over time: To what extent did brand awareness and unaided recall change after the campaign was ended?  How did perceptions of the brand change?  Did the impact vary by sub-segment?  How were the ads rated on key attributes and how did these ratings compare to competitors’ ads? To what extent did the ads motivate action? 

The initial qualitative information was used immediately by the firm and its ad agency to modify ad content prior to launch; some ads were eliminated based on negative feedback, allowing the firm to focus on the most compelling messages.

Management used the quantitative research to evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign based on increased brand awareness and brand perceptions. The survey data was combined with internal metrics to assess the extent to which the ads may have generated activity online and through phone centers.

Based on the results, additional dollars were allocated for the next year’s ad spend and changes were made in the media channels used.