A robust program of partnering with prominent research organizations was expanded in 2012 to include Statista, which produces infographics to enhance understanding of information through data visualization.
Filtered through the lens of various economic scenarios, we've put together our own forecasts for consumer buying behavior and product development, with resulting implications and recommendations for marketers. Innovation & New Product Forecasts is our most popular report, and it also includes distillation of the best current thinking from academics and practitioners on innovation, factors for product success and failure, consumer insights, and the role of advertising in product trial, along with marketing spending on launches, line extensions, and rankings of the best new products of the year.
2012 saw the publication of Defining Brand Identity, from consumer insight and brand strategy consulting firm Brand Amplitude. Creating a brand identity is one of the most important steps a company can take to ensure a consistent, enduring brand, as it supports the organization's overall mission and objectives, and informs decisions about more than just about marketing. In addition to practical guidance for developing a brand identity that should be applied across all communications, both internal and customer facing, there is also a Brand Architecture Toolkit, which provides principles for determining the optimal brand architecture for a marketer's brand portfolio.
The growing importance of Gen Y to marketers was recognized in two reports: comScore's Best Practices: Engaging Millennials with Advertising, suggesting advertising tactics and strategies for engaging this difficult-to-reach group, and Millennial Grocery Shoppers: Meet Your Newest Consumer, which examines trends such as food as adventure, male shoppers, their definition of fitness, and other factors that make Millennials different from previous generations.
4A's Research guidance in 2012 also included:
• Insights on shifting attitudes, behavior, and priorities of Moms Marketing to Moms;
• The state of mobile technology and its impact on business and society The Netsize Guide by Gemalto: Truly Mobile;
• Understanding B2B purchase influencers and opinion leaders, what media influence them, and what factors impact their purchasing decisions B2B Purchase Influencers and Opinion Leaders;
• Insights gleaned by our information professionals from presentations at the 4A's conferences included:
• Observations From the 4A's 2012 PR Conference
• Insights from the 2012 4A's Strategy Festival
• Observations from Transformation LA 2012
Customized Research Analysis
Research Services conducted over 10,000 research projects in 2012 on topics related to agency trends, the changing American demographic profile, consumer behavior, and hundreds of prospect and client categories.
Dozens of agencies credited us with being their secret weapon behind successful new business pitches in 2012. In addition, countless members relied on Research Services as an extension of internal agency staff for essential information to give them a competitive edge.
During the first few days of the Hurricane Sandy crisis, with no transportation and spotty power, we mobilized our professional staff to work collaboratively and remotely.
We successfully researched 76 member projects and met all promised deadlines during this challenging/difficult time.
Current "hot topics" on members' minds include:
• CMOs' changing priorities
• Challenges and new competition facing agencies
• Healthcare services
• Multi-channel and cross channel media usage
• Consistency in brand expression
• Consumer segments: Hispanic, moms, millennials, seniors, affluent
• Social media analytics
• Challenges of data overload
• Consumer path to purchase
• Evolving agency models
• In-store marketing and the shopper experience.
Members need access to quality research information 24/7. 4A's Research meets that need with a set of web-based online research tools. ProQuest® and AMIGO provide full-text articles from thousands of publications on marketing topics, as well as companies, business management, industries, and regional business news. CREW (Creative Running Everywhere Worldwide) contains more than 15 million ads in six media from 56 countries. Users can search by brand, company, country, and category to retrieve details about ads in five media, and download instantaneously any ads they choose to purchase. BUDDY remains an enormously popular demographic resource, complete with mapping and charting capabilities.
Resources in the Research Essentials section of the 4A's Web site include trends and basic facts about our industry, marketing best practices and guidelines, plus a growing collection of studies from our research partners.
Fresh Press is a digital dashboard of real-time RSS feeds from more than 150 websites that contain excellent, and frequently updated, content. It is organized into sixteen marketing channels to make it a user-friendly current awareness tool.
Customized training on use of 4A's Web-based tools and databases and guidance on how to make optimal use of 4A's Research Services was provided to more than 100 agencies via visits and remote teleconference during 2012. (Contact Marsha Appel at email@example.com if you'd like to schedule one for your agency).
The 4A's Research Twitter feed has become the go-to spot to learn about new reports and studies on topics critical to the marketing world. Join our 1,000+ followers @4AsResearch.