Why Research? The Data may Surprise You

By Josh Gold

In a previous post, I made an effort to demystify all the elements that go into making a video. One of the things I emphasized at the time was the importance of conducting serious research and using it to craft strong message that can help you achieve tangible results.

This is an underrated aspect of the creative process. Making a video just doesn’t seem that deep to a lot of people.

If that describes you, you might feel instinctively that there isn’t very much to do research about. You know your organization. You already have it covered.

That’s why today, I want to revisit this topic. Hear me out if you’re curious why you might get more out of the discovery phase than you think.

Marketing means thinking in a different way

You have important work to do every day: people who count on you, projects to oversee. Your focus is on succeeding in your mission – not figuring out how to make it sound exciting to strangers on Facebook.

So, while you can probably talk all day about the work you do, you’re hardly likely to know off the top of your head which details will do the best job of attracting a new prospect. You may never have even thought about who your target demographic is, or what language will be most likely to persuade them to take action. Knowing your organization doesn’t mean having to know these things. It’s not something you should have to worry about.

The research stage gives you the chance to not only look for answers, but also to check that you’re asking the right questions. Thorough, thoughtful planning is simply a necessary step in ensuring that your video isn’t just telling your story, but telling it in the way that will be the most effective for people outside your organization.

The data may surprise you

Whenever possible, it’s a good idea to work from concrete data. Who follows your work? What attracted them to you in the first place? Why do they stick around?

And what isn’t working? What’s losing ground for you with potential supporters?

There’s no need to leave this up to guesswork; it’s possible to collect all this information through polling and interviews.

While you may have a pretty good idea of the what you’re going to find, there’s also a chance that you’ll learn something new and truly illuminating.

You’re investing a lot in making a video. Is there any reason not to make it as strong as possible by basing your strategy on solid evidence?

Are you staying current?

Maybe I’m preaching to the choir and you’ve done all this before. In that case, my question for you is: When?

Things change. Your community may not be the same place it was the last time you really worked on your image and message. Your cause may not be exactly the same. To be clear, this doesn’t mean you’ve abandoned or neglected it!

But opportunities, priorities, relationships – life has a way of seeing these things drift over time.

Take a look. Maybe you’ll find that nothing needs to be redone or updated. On the other hand, maybe you’ll discover that you want to make some changes to how you define your organization, or which demographic is your main audience. You won’t know until you pop the hood and see what’s inside.

What do you say? Have I made a convincing case, or do you still believe that research is a waste of time? Feel free to reach out and share your thoughts.

Josh Gold, owner of Serio Films, has helped nonprofits raise millions of dollars through video-based marketing. You can follow Josh and his team over at seriofilms.com and facebook.com/seriofilms. To get more discussions like these right to your inbox, sign up for their newsletter.