Primary information. Let’s face it, the most important information that can help create successful advertising will come from the people who actually buy your product and services.  Start with your customers.  By speaking with as few as 15 to 35 people, you’ll gain invaluable information that will help chart your course. Ask them their perception of your products and services.  Find out what benefits and features are most important to them. Understand your customers on an emotional level.  What are their frustrations, fears, needs and desires?  What are their media preferences?  Also, consider hiring an outside firm to interview your customers, one-on-one for truly unbiased answers.  Often, customers are like friends: they don’t want to hurt your feelings, but they’ll gladly talk behind your back.


It’s the prospects that count. Understanding your current customers is important, but understanding what will motivate your prospects to become customers is golden.  After all, isn’t the goal of advertising to persuade and motivate? Again, 15 to 35 one-on-one interviews have proven to be successful in gathering this important information.  It’s surprising to note how often what is important to the prospects is overlooked by the advertiser.

It’s all in the questions. When interviewing clients and prospects, the purpose is to better understand the benefits of greatest importance to them. When developing your questionnaire, keep in mind the interview can range from 1/2 hour to an hour.  Below are a few examples of questions that can be asked.  Because most of the questions are open-ended, it’s best to limit the total number to 12 – 15.


  •  What is your decision making process when buying similar products or services?
  •  What is your perception of ABC company?
  •  When you think of “X” product or service, which companies come to mind?
  •  What are the key benefits and features you are looking to obtain?
  •  What challenges are you currently facing














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