By Barb Paszyn

Spring is finally here and with it comes Spring Cleaning!

So let’s get creative and clean out a different kind of closet: your marketing research closet. You’ve been cramming it full of brand information, consumer knowledge, and customer insights for years and now it’s overflowing.

It’s important to conduct regular audits because we often amass so much data and so many new types of reports that it’s overwhelming. We can no longer find what we need. But worry not! A knowledge audit can help clean out this cluttered closet of qualitative and quantitative data.

A knowledge audit involves collecting all the information for a brand or category, and reviewing and re-analyzing it into a comprehensive story. This audit will help you organize your information and identify pieces that may be missing from the brand puzzle. It’s also a great opportunity to identify insights that are out of date and need to be updated.

In our fast-paced world, a good rule of thumb is to avoid using information older than 3 to 5 years. If your information is older than this, you will need to assess whether it is still relevant for your current business problems. In most cases, more current data is more relevant. With time, people and their needs change and evolve, and we need to remember that products and brands change and evolve as well.

However, once you identify reports or data that are no longer current, don’t discard them! Older data serves multiple important purposes including informing you on how the market has changed and what trends may be emerging. Take care to archive older information in a well-labeled box (digital or otherwise) should you need to re-evaluate trends over time.

To ensure your closet is always stocked with the most current and relevant data, plan to execute annual tracking studies that measure brand health and gain a better understanding of consumer perceptions of your brand, competitive brands, and the environment. In addition, consider executing segmentation research every 3 to 5 years to determine whether your consumers have changed. Your target consumers can easily change or evolve over time so this will help you stay focused and ensure your marketing efforts are well placed.

Every marketing research closet needs to undergo a regular spring cleaning. We’d love to help you conduct your knowledge audit and update your research closet with a brand health tracker or a fresh segmentation.