Actionable Research: Moving backward?

Helping our clients move forward (aka EVOLVE) is what we do. It's our namesake, after all! So you might be surprised to learn that while our end-game is to propel your marketing and branding strategy to the next level, we start with a tool called backward research.


What is backward research? 


It's the process we use to design every study we take on. Each project is designed with our client's goals, objectives, opportunities, and challenges at the center. No two clients (or marketing challenge) are the same, so we figure out how each client plans to use the data after the research is complete, and engineer the study backward from there. 


How does backward research work? 


Before beginning any project, we take the time to gain a deep understanding of our clients; truly understanding their goals, objectives, and how they intend to use the insights. This is crucial because every client is unique - unique opportunities, unique reasons for being in business, and unique abilities to connect with their audiences. 


Not only is each client unique, but each marketing challenge is unique as well - unique questions must be answered to make confident decisions and meet the specific marketing objectives. 


Once this deep understanding is established, the planning begins. We think about what the final report will look like, complete with our client's burning questions answered and our recommendations for conquering their marketing challenges, and we determine the best methodology to obtain those insights. Sometimes that might be an online survey or a series of focus groups; other times we may deploy multiple tools, such as a qualitative and quantitative component so we can get deep into the mind of their audience and have the numbers to back up the findings.


Once the methodology is nailed down, we start drafting the research instrument (e.g. questionnaire or moderator's guide). This is a collaborative process among the Evolve team and our clients. Each question we write goes through a rigorous test to ensure it aligns with our client's goals and how they plan to use the data. We ask questions such as:

  • So what? What does this mean for you?
  • How is the client going to use this?
  • Is this the best way to ask the question/gather the insight?

Only questions that truly matter and support the goals and objectives make the cut.


Once the data is collected and analyzed, our reporting follows the same rigorous process. Every chart, slide, and bullet point is tied back to the client's goals and constructed with the thought of "What does this mean for the client and how will they use it?" This results in a highly actionable and engaging report where every slide is meaningful.


By involving the end-goals at every stage of the research process, we ensure that our final deliverables tell a clear and concise story through the data without all the fluff.


Curious how backward research would work for your organization? Give us a call and let's discuss your marketing challenges and research needs!

Posted by Stewart

Stewart is passionate about all things research. Designing studies, analyzing data, and moderating interviews - Stew does it all. Outside of research, he enjoys trying new recipes in the kitchen and exploring the OKC food and craft beer scene with his wife, Jade.

Topics: How To's, Research, What We Do, About us