This is a lesson we can learn from our colleagues in the for-profit world where they embrace marketing research.
Far too often, non-profits do not allocate the appropriate financial resources for good marketing research. Some feel that by conducting the occasional “Survey Monkey” they have fulfilled the need to learn more about one’s audience, patrons or constituents. While surveys conducted via the internet can provide a quick response to a few specific questions, they are not a substitute for the kind of research that probes into the true reasons why someone chooses to interact (or not interact) with your organization. The savvy executive director understands that his/her marketing director must have crucial information in order to make informed decisions about future marketing campaigns. And that can only result from attempting to discover the emotional response customers have to the services and products offered by your organization. It costs money to do that correctly. It takes meaningful one-on-one conversations between researcher and customer. Oh and one other thing – it means you have to LISTEN to what is reported back. In the end, good research results in a targeted marketing campaign that will effectively use an organization’s financial resources and will yield a greater understanding of your constituents. So budget for the research !