The way we can use the market research tip of “designing with the end in mind” to form a successful research plan is by first reiterating the question we are looking to answer, the one that initiated the marketing research process in the first place. It’s important to keep the end goal top of mind, and this particular tip allows you to lay out breadcrumbs that will prevent the researcher and team from getting lost along the way.
In the same way that visualization of desires and goals (Links to an external site.) help one map out the journey leading to a coveted goal, designing with the end in mind enables the researcher to create a mockup of the end result. The end result in this case would be the actual findings that the research yields.
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There are many moving pieces when kicking off marketing research. Depending on the organization where you work or for which you are conducting the research, there can also be a lot of red tape involved, or obstacles that can prevent you from reaching your goal in a timely fashion. In other words, it can be very easy to lose sight of the original goal that you had in mind. Spending resources and time working on a plan that, in the end, did not answer the initial question is a terrible waste, especially as expenses add up very quickly.
After setting the research objectives that are to be reviewed and agreed upon by the decision-makers and stakeholders, the ‘design with the end in mind’ tip advises the researcher to essentially mock-up that final presentation, creating as many slides as they think will be needed to showcase the information. This exercise will jolt your mind if you have perhaps missed answering or deliberating upon any aspect of the process. Did you somehow forget to define the research audience properly? Is there a relevant question that you forgot to include in the questionnaire that must be answered by the focus group, or whatever the study instrument may be? Imagine presenting in front of the stakeholders – will the information that you have mocked up in your slides answered the questions that the decision makers will ask you?
Other ways that designing with the end in mind can help other aspects of the business is that it can help business owners define metrics by which they can measure success, throughout any department in the company. For example, in the digital marketing department at the company where I work, the team must submit and present a bi-weekly report that highlights the ‘digital wins’ achieved during that period.
These digital wins are based on measurable goals. Within my field of expertise, Search Engine Optimization, that meants tracking metrics like new users, pageviews, time on site, bounce rate, and other types of conversion goals. To accomplish this, I start by pulling up an SEO report template that gives me an overarching view of all the important metrics.
These metrics are based on our recently launched website, www.jazwares.com (Links to an external site.). When the site was launched a few months ago, the SEO health score was a dismal 42. The factors that went into optimizing the site to yield the current score (97!) were first carefully thought out by laying out the plan. I needed to create a blueprint of all those factors that directly impacted the website’s architecture, mobile responsive, and thereby, its health score.
This report helped me stay on track just as much as it helped me create those initial goals without which I would not have known had ended in failure or success.
Designing with the end in mind can help all aspects of a business, as long as there is a definable process that tracks and measures goals. Without it, you may find yourself out of time, out of money, and maybe even, out of luck!