If you’ve ever wondered how to put a great research project together then this episode is for you. This week we’re going to meet Dr. Zoe Dowling, the Lead Research Strategist for FocusVision, a research technology solutions provider. An eclectic blend of researcher, technologist, sociologist and marketer with a rich background across functions, industries and countries, providing shape around the unstructured delivering timely outcomes to meet business objectives.
As part of her work Zoe is also a consultant on the power of the research applications Focus Vision provides. With this in mind you won’t be surprised to find out that we’ll be discussing a top tip that involves, yep, research and we’ll also be looking at the Dec 18 CIM Digital Marketing Assignment Question 2 (b).
Back to our interviewee and while thinking of an intro I looked at Zoe’s LinkedIn profile page (doing my own bit of research there) and realised that I couldn’t really summaries Zoe better than this page does so I quote:
An eclectic blend of researcher, technologist, sociologist and marketer with a rich background across functions, industries and countries, providing shape around the unstructured, delivering timely outcomes to meet business objectives.
So what better way to kick off an interview with a Doctor of research, than to find out if Zoe has ever research how to win on a roulette table?
– Dr. Zoe puts her success down to a number of things, one being serendipity (I just love that word), which for a doctor that tries to make the unstructured structured is kind of a wired thing to say, but when coupled with the fact that Dr. Zoe has always been open to new opportunities, with no set path, it make perfect sense and a great way to summaries this is the transition from an academic position into the professional realm. So always take that chance, say yes – Carpe diem my fiends.
– In terms of any research you may be part of it is fundamental you narrow down what your are trying to achieve, remember to set those SMART objectives at the start of anything (if you are unsure what SMART objectives are I’ll post a link in the show notes). Not only what you want to achieve, but what will you be doing once you have the results? How will you put what you have learnt into action? If these are difficult questions to answer, it maybe that your field is to broad and the questions you are posing need to be narrow and focused.
– Technology only works with adoption, now this is key when considering communication channels and where your target markets attention is focused. If you are creating excellent content on a platform such as Instagram this could all be for nothing if your target audience don’t use this channel or to put it another way, are yet to adopt it! Are you to soon or focusing on the wrong communication channels?
– And finally, if you want to know something, ask them! Ask your consumers, ask your employees, ask your competitors if you have to, but ask. You don’t ask you don’t get.
Top Tip – Do Your Research
This top tip goes hand in hand with our guest in that it is all about research.
Some people like to dive right into an assignment and start writing straight away and learn as they go along, but the more information you gather at the start, before putting pen to paper, the more prepared you will be to tackle a Marketing assignment. Now this isn’t just about reading books as most assignments are structured in a way that allows you to take, learn and start to understand the fundamentals from all over the place, from your current position and company to, dare I say it, yep, podcasts!
Here are my top five key areas where you should to focus most of your time and effort while doing your research, but remember you can draw inspiration from more places than you may think:
Now although I’ve just said that doing research isn’t all about reading books, when it comes to the theories of Marketing (or the method behind the Marketing) then there isn’t really a better place to start than your core text book. That said, further reading of a variety of texts will open you mind to other theories and concepts you may not have heard of before and in addition to any books you may be reading check out the two following websites, created by past guests of this podcast:
Smart Insights – Dave Chaffey
SOSTAC – PR Smith
This is the part that goes missing from many assignment, real life examples that can help to endorse any statements you may be making. Keep your eye out for just really good marketing examples in every day life as well as the more standard places such as online, in journals or even your own trade publications. It is always best practice to learn from….well…..best practice.
Company and competitors
Many assignments that you will face ask for an organisational summary of the company you are basing your answers around, so it essential as well as just good practice to learn and understand what your organisation is all about, which will help you focus your answers as you are working with actual facts, figures and truths.
Secondly, check out the competition. In some tasks you are even asked to compare your company to a competitors, so make sure you are really in tune with what is going on in your own Market.
These final two key areas to focus your research on are more about your methodology than understanding Marketing concepts. The first being the key words you will need to understand, that feature in every single exam and assignment. These are there to guide you in writing your answer and you will need to research what each one means if you are to provide an answer that is in-line with what examiners are looking for.
And finally, understand the structure of the answer and what it entails – if it is a report, review how good reports are written or what a great reporting template looks like, alternatively if you are being asked to produce a presentation with slides and speakers notes, research what should be in speakers notes and how to design a decent slide deck – captivating and complimentary to the speakers notes I guess, but I’ll leave it down to you to do the research into this one.
So I hope this has helps. Stick to these 5 key areas and you are on your way to a distinction!
Assignment Question – L4 Digital Marketing (2103) – Dec 2018 (2b)
This question is very much looking into customer behaviour since digital comms channels have such an influence on this. Your answer needs to cover THREE and only three key digital element or factors that have brought about behavioural changes.
You are expected to analyse these changes, which means a thorough examination of your chosen changes as well as giving judgment over each.
But what specifically could these changes be? Well, this will depend on multiple factors that will be specific to your organisation, industry and target markets. Has there been a change in technology that has been adopted by consumers, perhaps creating a better level of service, easier way to consume content or faster delivery methods? Has there been a change in the amount of content that is now open and available to consumers meaning a higher level of education around your service or product and the ability to communicate better? These are the types of questions you should be asking and finding the answers to.
It is also important to consider the negative impact that could be imposed, such as security issues, trust factors or a reduced lack of attention causing issues with consumer engagement? Again, you will have to research and understand these factors to provide a great answer.
Happy Marketing Everyone!
Music Featured on this Podcast:
Sleepy in the Garden
Lobo Loco www.musikbrause.de
Creative Commons License
Smart Insights: https://www.smartinsights.com
Theory / Concept (Book) :
The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life: https://amzn.to/2rlXLut
Nelson Mandela: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Mandela