Six Types of Research that Make You an Ad Sales Ace

You need to become an expert researcher if you want to stand out from the crowd. Providing solid, usable data sets you apart from your competitors while providing a valuable service to your clients.

Here are some surefire ways from ad sales pro Nancy O’Brien to dive into the ocean of research out there and give your clients the research they need to make waves:ID-10046440


It’s important to have written evidence of your readership, whether  it’s through circulation audits, Publisher’s sworn statements, actual postage receipts and print receipts. Ad Sales is about selling through data.

Readership Studies

Conduct periodic but consistent readership studies to define what sections readers like best and what determines how long they spend engaged with your publication.  The right questions will help you determine how much advertising recall the readers have, what other publications they read and gives you a good profile of readership habits.

BraID-10047253nd Perception Studies

In house studies can easily be done with an online survey tool like Survey Monkey.  (That’s not Survey Monkey’s monkey at left. I just couldn’t resist inserting a cute little monkey.)  You can do these for both the readers and the advertisers. Surveys or studies studies measure your readers’ and/or advertisers’ perceptions about a particular product/service. Brand perception studies can be third party or in-house–just don’t be afraid to look in that mirror.

Benchmarking Studies

Benchmarking studies are generally used at the beginning of a new campaign in your publication and should be done again at 12 and 18 months. It’s a useful measurement tool to learn about readers’ evolving knowledge about a product or service. Plus it helps your advertisers learn about their perceived strengths and weakness to better understand and then build a campaign around those perceptions.

Focus Groups

Ideally you want no more than 10 -1 5 participants to be moderated and video or audio taped. Focus groups give far more detail than a written survey and allows for clarifying questions by the moderator as well as other participants.

Hot tip: Conduct one in conjunction with next event where several readers are at the same place at the same time.

Market Research

You can do market research yourself on an ongoing basis to provide your customers with market trends. It doesn’t have to be about that specific widget they want to advertise–it can be a product line, service, industry trend or about marketing in general. As long as your client can use the information. Using search engines gives you data. Often the search feature on your own website is a goldmine of data.

Six ways to become an Research Expert in record time.  Are you ready?  Tell us the crafty ways you research for your clients on  Facebook or Twitter.


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