Since the formation of this company more than 20 years ago, one of our messages was that research was no longer a luxury, but a necessity. While public access to the Internet hadn’t occurred yet, we were well into the new technology era with the ever growing use and reliance on personal computers, something that made research more cost-effective, and more important in improving performance and being more competitive. With the growing importance of the Internet, online marketing and social media, research has become much more cost-effective, and much more of a necessity.

I attended a workshop a few days ago on tourism marketing. The topic of social media came up among the government, nonprofit and tourism industry officials that attended, with two important points:

Social media was important but most hadn’t figured out how to use it effectively, and research was an essential tool for making effective social media decisions. We are talking about research in the form of online and other methods of searching for how social media is being and can be used, and surveying actual and potential customers, clients, members, employees and the general public or targeted segments regarding how they use social media for purchasing and using products, finding information, entertainment, and conducting business. Research has become more important in determining what the best message is and how to best deliver it via social and other media, especially for companies that don’t traditionally do a lot of it.

As with any other media, the key to social media is not just using it, but using it as effectively as possible. Failure to do so can mean that you may fall into the trap of improving company performance while falling behind competitors who use it more effectively.

Also, in today’s environment, things change more rapidly. Use of social media in purchasing or using products or services can change seemingly overnight. It is important for companies and organization to budget for and conduct periodic research to ensure that they are not making decisions based on irrelevant data.

Oh, one other thing mentioned at my discussion table was a government agency that conducted a major survey for tens of thousands of dollars, only to throw out the data because it wasn’t conducted properly. File this under the section entitled, “the importance of doing research properly.”

As with our other survey and research services, Capture ISG can assist your company or organization with developing customized research to help determine how to best use social medial to improve company performance, meet marketing and company goals, and become more competitive.

by David G. – CaptureISG Public Policy Director