Many of the issues and complaints about marketing research these days stem from the over-reliance on one method. It would seem that projects are most often defined as exclusively “qualitative” or “quantitative”, if only because researchers are usually versed in one, but not both. We’ve long resisted this way of thinking, and invested heavily in tools and techniques that allow for the bridging of the two lenses.
Work that illustrates this capacity was our part in the development of the Canadian Forces’ “Fight” recruiting campaign, in which we were involved from positioning to final copy testing. At the time, this campaign was both highly necessary and controversial, and our work helped bring it into the light of day. A reference from the DND’s report on public opinion research puts it in their words:
"The Department also focused on gaining an understanding of the perceptions of young Canadians about the labour market, particularly in terms of their expectations concerning a career in the Canadian Forces. Several market research projects on this topic assisted DND in developing a new recruitment advertising campaign. Substantial resources were allocated to pre-testing the advertising concept and the recruitment ads. The use of perception analyzers in the studies greatly facilitated DND's understanding of the issues and helped it address some of the inherent sensitivities involved in portraying the Forces' combat roles."
The following is an illustration of work we did for the Department of National Defense on the development of their “Fight” campaign. This video highlights our capacity to do “moment-to-moment” evaluation of communications. The moving line graph super-imposed over the TV ad illustrates how the audience – and relevant subgroups – are decoding what they see. There is also segmentation (link to /expertise/segmentation) at work here:
- “offtarget” – those uninterested in a career in the Forces;
- “not combat” – those with interest in the Forces but not for combat roles;
- “combat maybe” – those with interest in the Forces and open to combat roles;
- And finally “Combat Ready” – the key target audience with a clear interest in combat roles.
This segmentation made it possible to substantiate the key finding – that while the ad was generally received as provocative and even somewhat controversial, it was nonetheless highly effective in reaching – and motivating exactly the target audience necessary to the Forces’ enrolment needs.
The following front-page article from the Globe and Mail provides more detail: