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Research Services 

4A's Research Services specializes in providing marketing insights and thought leadership to help members with their new business efforts and client growth strategies. This powerful resource offers customized research analysis, Research Insights white papers, topical webinars, online research content, and hands-on database access for member agencies.

Marketing Insights

Social Media Monitoring and Reporting
In 2013, the 4A's conducted a survey of agency social media monitoring and reporting behavior, including tools and metrics used, budgets, location of the function in agencies and frequency and method of reporting results to clients. The findings corroborated anecdotal evidence from Netvibes that this is a function agencies haven't completely figured out yet. A subsequent webinar on the topic in conjunction with Netvibes attracted a large number of attendees and was very well received.

In addition to the social media monitoring event, there was a Mintel webinar about consumer spending and a webinar conducted by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) about marketing through influencers.

Another member benefit emanating from the 4A's Research Services partnership with Mintel description is the availability of infographics illuminating results from Mintel's research studies on topics related to consumer trends and product purchasing and behavior. These informative and colorful data visualizations can be found in the Research Essentials section of the 4A's website.

4A's relationships with other leading organizations present member agencies with the opportunity for discounted services, publications, and webinars from Statista, Netvibes, and The Conference Board.

Rebranding a large corporation presents a tremendous set of challenges. Large organizations often have multiple divisions with different names and no umbrella identity; employees are often embedded in their respective departments with limited exposure to the broader vision and purpose of the parent company. A Research Insights report on a Conference Board workshop contains corporate rebranding success stories about companies that went through painful rebranding metamorphoses, and emerged stronger from the process. These case histories share a startling number of common elements that can provide a valuable lesson for others contemplating a change.

How does each segment of the affluent market differ in its expectations, behaviors and plans? A Research Insights based on findings from the Shullman Luxury and Affluence Pulse survey examines the differences in consumers' perceptions, shopping behavior, communication habits and media usage of the various income segments of the affluent market, and is designed to help agencies identify opportunities and approaches to reach upscale consumers.

Much has been written about how to reach the elusive millennial male. The subgroup of rabid gamers, dubbed "Fanboys," comes into sharp focus in a Research Insights from Machinima that looks at their lifestyles and media habits and imparts an understanding of these passionate fans of geek culture. The report identifies different marketing approaches and provides key strategies for targeting them.

4A's Research guidance in 2013 also included:
Customized Research Analysis
Research Services conducted over 10,000 research projects in 2013 on topics related to agency trends, the changing American demographic profile, data and analytics, 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 2013. In addition, 85% of member agencies relied on Research Services as an extension of internal agency staff for essential information to give them a competitive edge.

"Hot topics" included:

  • CMOs' changing priorities
  • challenges and new competition facing agencies
  • Big Data
  • healthcare services
  • attribution
  • employee branding
  • marketing to C-suite executives
  • global branding strategies
  • consumer segments: Hispanics, moms, millennials, seniors, affluent
  • social media analytics
  • role of advertising in developing a strong brand
  • understanding small business owners and entrepreneurial mindset
  • consumer decision journey
  • evolving agency models
  • shopper and experiential marketing
  • multi-screen marketing and consumer behavior

Information Access
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® provides 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 18 million ads in seven media in 68 countries. Users can search by brand, company, country, medium and category to retrieve details about ads 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. The Agency Business, Advertising, Marketing + Media, Consumer segments/markets, and the Digital realm are the core categories of our ever-expanding online resources.

A new section of Research Essentials, focused on Industry verticals, was launched in March 2013 in response to frequent requests by member agencies. Curated by Research Services professionals, it contains industry profiles, current research reports, rankings, statistics, consumer behavior and forecasts for nine broad categories: Banking & Financial, Travel, Food & CPG, Automotive, Healthcare, Retail, Restaurants, Home & Garden and Tech & Electronics. Along with Mintel infographics and staff-generated charts, the category pages contain reports and insights extracted from hundreds of articles, thus creating an invaluable first stop when seeking to understand a client's or prospect's business.

Fresh Press is the popular digital dashboard of RSS feeds from more than 150 websites. It is organized into sixteen continually updated marketing channels, which makes it a user-friendly current awareness tool. Newly added in 2013 was the ability for agency users to customize the dashboard to their own preferences, adding personalized channels tailored to their own interests.

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 2013. (If you'd like to schedule one for your agency, contact Marsha Appel at

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 its 1,100+ followers @4AsResearch.

My Notebook

My Notebook

4A's Agency Communications Summit 2016
June 8 | Conference
Come meet the most important journalists covering the advertising, marketing and media industries today.
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