Happy Spring, everyone! With the first quarter of the year officially behind us and the promise of summer just around the corner, April is a great time to step back and consider your 2017 goals. Are you on track for growth? Are there areas worth re-considering due to recent shifts or changes? And, perhaps most importantly, do you know everything you need to know about the audiences you serve, or are hoping to engage, in the coming year?
If you aren’t sure, consider doing some research to deepen your insights ahead. Below is a quick roundup of some tips and resources to help get you started:
- Get Comfortable with the Basics. Our guest post for our friends at Prichard Communications team on 6 Simple Steps To Understanding Your Audience Through Research is a good place to start for a basic introduction to the research process. We outline the key differences between qualitative and quantitative research, the importance of goal-setting and screening, tips on avoiding bias, and more, to ensure you get the most mileage from your research efforts.
- Know Before You Go: If You’re Considering a Survey? Start Here. We also weighed some pros and cons for free vs. low-cost survey tools in the guest post 7 Survey Tools for Impactful Insights Ahead for the Starfish Impact team. This read is ideal for smaller organizations and nonprofits with limited staff and budget resources to ensure you maximize the impact of your survey efforts.
- Read Up On Trends. While some methods are tried and true, the field of research, like many others, experiences trends. Check out Predicted Market Research Trends for 2017, 8 Human Insight Trends for 2017, and 5 Online Qualitative Research Trends for 2017 to see what some experts are predicting, and then give some thought to how you may be able to apply these concepts to your own efforts.
- Stay Curious and Keep Learning. Researchers, by nature, are driven by curiosity and ongoing learning—it’s why I really love this work. We’ve written before about the awesome Office Hours program run by Women in Research (WIRe); be sure to check out their education, mentoring, events, and more. For fellow Portlanders, MercyCorps NW is a great resource for early-stage and emerging brands; check out their April 26 class on Deeply Defining Your Ideal Customer if you want to dig in further here. On May 8, the PRSA 2017 Communicators Conference includes a relevant session, Power to the People, that will explore how to incorporate stakeholder research into the strategic planning process.