New model of advertising: Conducting market research throughout the campaign

NOVEMBER 4, 2011 – Engagement with the consumer has long been at the heart of the advertising model, but when that connection occurs, and what effect it has on a campaign’s outcome, is changing.

Adam Ferrier and Carla Serrano write for Advertising Age that ad agencies are taking a new approach to how they drive consumers to act. Rather than the old days of conducting market research, designing a campaign around the results and hoping shoppers will buy the pitch, those in the industry are seeking out more than just the purchasing action. Now, they want people to get involved in the ad – something that is possible in the digital era, “where you can give the consumer the option of participating in your message on his own terms.”

As a result of this engagement and a few psychological effects, the message will end up packing a stronger punch, they say. If the viewer is participating with the ad materials, he or she will feel more independent, as if they have a choice in how they receive the message. They will also feel as if the message holds more truth if they “come to a realization through activity.”

Ferrier and Serrano note that “As consumers take action, the likelihood increases that they will change their thoughts and feelings to go along with the action.”

Additionally, playing a role in the campaign and interacting with the brand will also make the message more relevant to the consumer.

Procter & Gamble brand Old Spice launched an online video campaign earlier this year that sought feedback and direction from viewers in terms of how the storyline – a duel between Fabio Lanzoni and the “Old Spice guy,” Isaiah Mustafa – should progress, Mashable reports. Consumer suggestions would make it into the ad scripts, and the video series pulled in 68,000 additional Facebook fans, as well as collecting 22 million views on YouTube in a single week and 53,000 comments.

The effort successfully gave new life to a the “Man Your Man Could Smell Like Campaign,” and managed to drive up fan engagement, the source says.

“We set an objective to engage fans the way we did last year,” Mike Norton, a Procter & Gamble Male Grooming representative, said in an interview with Mashable. “We didn’t want to try to do the same thing.”