Would you jump out of an airplane without a parachute? Then why would you invest thousands or millions of dollars on a marketing plan without solid research?
Despite its obvious value, research is often left on the cutting room floor. Executives want to preserve the maximum amount of their budget for direct customer contact.
Without research, you can waste a lot of money delivering the wrong message via the wrong channel. In that light, quality research seems like a bargain.
Research isn't a divining rod, but it is an indispensable guide for talking to your target audience. You may be in love with a cool feature of your product, but your prime customers may base their buying decision on something quite different. You would be smart to emphasize the value your customers are looking for.
It is true that many business leaders have excellent rapport with their customers. They understand customer needs and what makes them tick. However, even the most in-tune executives often don't know how their words play in the minds of their customers. This is another important use of research — to test what you say against what your customers hear. Grooming your language to resonate with customers puts you into deeper alignment with your target market.
A favorite excuse for scrapping research is the relatively small size of a communications budget. But that is thinking backwards. The smaller the budget, the greater benefit to knowing how to maximize the bang for your buck.
Any way you look at it, research is essential to effective marketing communications. If there is no research, your approach is not strategic, and even less cost-effective.