If you work at an economic growth program, it’s likely that your team is funding a lot of research and trials. These insights and business model innovations have the possibility to change the way current systems function and positively impact day-to-day lives. These efforts take time and energy to put together, but they are justified and celebrated because of the potential value they can bring to the slice of the world that you focus on.
But what then? Once the insights are learned and research is published, you still need the right people to do the right action with it to replicate, expand, and achieve scale. This is the time-intensive and detailed work, but needs to be done.
There are five main steps in the funnel for achieving large impact from your research. They are: targeting, awareness, engagement, consideration, and then (most importantly) action. This is similar to traditional marketing tactics, where “marketers use the Consumer Decision Making Process to understand how a buyer makes decisions, from the moment they are first exposed to a brand or product to the point of purchase,” but in the funnel we will focus on putting more emphasis on lasting influence.
The more upfront effort you put into the first four stages, the greater probability your organization will have a large scale sustainable impact on your intended audience. This will lead to greater replication of your research.
Let’s dive into each stage a little more.
First, targeting. This is where you identify the intended audience for your research. Your research isn’t for everyone, so it’s vital to know that the information you provide is relevant to your target audience. Make sure you break down your audience by persona, region, industry, etc.
Second, awareness. This is the distribution phase of your funnel. You want to reach that audience with the biggest ROI. Try to get your research published by new organizations that your audience reads or post it on forums.
Third, engagement. You will need to show your audience that you are adding value to them by meeting their needs. Test multiple communication channels, content types, and messaging to see which is most effective. An article by the World Bank Group says that “by putting people at the center of the development process, we start to understand why they choose what they do and the constraints they face, including from accessing and using services, or adapting behavior.” Once you learn how to best speak to your audience, you’ll be able to get your research across more successfully.
This leads directly into the fourth stage, consideration. This occurs when you have engaged with your audience in a way that they have been receptive to your research and recommendations, and they are starting to buy into it. This is the stage where your audience seriously evaluates the new business models and solutions from your program and is piecing together ways they could possibly implement these practices. Here, you can provide consolidated information like a one-sheet or a toolkit.
Finally, action. At this point, you’ve done all of the hard work of creation, distribution, and communication. Now, your targeted audience is using your solutions/new models in their day-to-day practices and your research is being adopted and replicated by others in your sector.
Moral of the story, you might think that once the time-consuming task of creating and publishing your research is complete, the hard work is over. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The work, that leads to impact, comes after the publication. You can outsource, with a service like our Amplify product, but either way that work needs to be done. Good news is these efforts are usually a fraction of the cost of the research and trials. And in the end, the larger audience you can move to act with your insights, the greater the impact and the greater return from all your efforts.