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October 22, 2020

Advanced Brand Tracking vs. DIY Survey Tools: The Lowdown

by Joy Corkery

There is one major problem that brand marketers face: they are operating based on guesswork. Brand is the most important asset for many companies, and yet only vaguely understood. Consumer firms spend more than one trillion dollars a year on marketing and advertising, yet build their campaigns based on gut feelings rather than a data-driven approach. Why? Because brand marketers don’t have their own analytics tool stack.

If you are a brand marketer reading this, you probably already realize that this is a problem and, hopefully, are trying to rectify this. And the best way to do so is by implementing a tool that will help you measure the most important brand KPIs across your target audience, and use the insights gathered to drive future marketing campaigns. Good choice! But you are not out of the danger zone yet. What this article hopes to do today is avoid you solving one problem by creating another, and that is choosing an unreliable method of measurement.

Many companies, especially those in the startup phase, are opting to use DIY survey tools to measure the success of their brand performance. That’s a good start but the insights derived from DIY survey tools are sadly not going to help you grow. Why? Because the data these tools provide is not accurate. That’s right, you will still be basing important marketing decisions on guesswork rather than fact.

What you need is a tool stack that you can rely on - a fully-fledged brand tracker. Something that can help you dig down into the most niche of audiences while still providing accurate data, and also something that is optimized for use to make finding insights easier and faster. You probably aren’t convinced to invest in a brand tracker by just these few sentences but if you read on, by the end of this article it will certainly be a case of out with the old and in with the new.

Building Your Survey

One of the key things you will hear throughout this article is that many of the decisions brand managers are making are based on guesswork rather than fact. That’s because platforms like Google Analytics or social listening tools really aren’t equipped for measuring brand. Sure, the insights they provide can be helpful but the level of accuracy needed still isn’t there.

You probably began using DIY survey tools to get a sense of accuracy: you are directly asking your target audience, after all. However, a lot of the quality of surveys comes in the work before and after its release and doesn’t lie solely with the respondents.

For instance, if you don’t have somebody in-house who is competent in writing surveys, responses will very often be given on the basis of misunderstanding. Having a person adequate in survey methodology write your questions instead will foster data quality.

Handling the Data

Feel like you can write the surveys yourself? Ok, no problem. But how you work with the data collected afterward also plays a big part in achieving accurate insights.

Advanced brand tracking uses proprietary technology for automated data cleaning and improvement of data quality. That means you get higher accuracy in your results that reflect real world-changes instead of just noise in the sample. Simply, you are weeding out low-quality data that takes away from the actual viewpoint of your target audience.

But with advanced brand tracking, that step is not enough. It also incorporates manual data cleaning as an additional step to further foster data quality. Again, in order to get this level of accuracy and reliability, you will require a team of data scientists. Those people don’t come cheap, but neither does quality. Advanced brand tracking can be your middle ground between unreliable survey tools and hiring new team members.

Better Marketing Decisions

Better marketing decisions can only be made when you are basing them on insights you can rely upon. There is no doubt that DIY surveys can provide reliable insights - but only to an extent.

DIY survey tools are good when you have a very general target audience, say all females or everybody aged 26-35 years. But what if your target audience is more complex than this (and it most likely is)? Most target audiences will have two-three characteristics in play, for example, men who live in cities and who play baseball on a regular basis. If you start digging down into data gathered by DIY survey tools you will probably see the number of people who fit this description is very few.

Data delivered to brands from DIY survey tools are raw data, with very limited processing. Sadly, this means that the data is less trustworthy due to limited accuracy. In addition, it provides limited data reach, meaning brands can’t segment the data to gain insights regarding niche target audiences. So, you cannot say wholeheartedly that any decision you make is based on the opinion of your audience.

Because of the technology mentioned in the previous section, advanced brand tracking can eliminate this area of unknown. Not only does it enable you to segment data while maintaining high precision for niche target audiences. It also provides up to 90% lower margins of error across the board. While no technology can read minds, this level of accuracy on audience opinion will sure help you create campaigns they are more likely to positively react to.

Time-Saving

One downside that people often overlook when it comes to DIY survey tools is the time involved to get from the start to the end of your project. Yes, you might initially be saving money in terms of the price of the tool but how much time and resource are you losing setting everything up, digging down into the data, and then presenting everything in an understandable manner for the other stakeholders.

Advanced brand tracking gives you back some of that precious time. With every good tracker, there will come somebody who will look after survey scripting, translations, fieldwork, and delivery. They will take everything gathered from the surveys and optimize them in an intuitive dashboard so you can easily see actionable brand insights. Plus, on a dashboard like this, it is also easy for you to explore the data and collaborate with your team either by providing them with login details or downloading the most interesting charts for them.

Final Thoughts

Buy cheap and you buy twice. Or, in the case of brand managers, buy cheap and you end up spending double the amount intended on unsuccessful campaigns.

DIY survey tools certainly have their perks: low-cost, easy to use, ability to run in-house. But they also come with a set of downfalls that can cost your brand a lot of money: unreliable data, time-consuming, ability to get accuracy for the target audience you want. If you are serious about growing a legendary brand and taking leadership in your industry, you have to solve these problems. Advanced brand tracking can do that for you. Making marketing decisions based on facts and creating campaigns that will have a positive impact on your target audience will benefit your company twofold.

Throw unreliability and inaccuracy in the trash. It’s time to move onto the next stage of brand building.

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