All public relations is planned, therefore it is important to know your audience. The only way to do this, is through research. Research is one of the most complex and difficult tasks of the public relations industry, but it is also the most sought after within the industry. Without research, we wouldn’t have knowledge of our publics, and we wouldn’t be able to accurately perform our job as Public Relations professionals. Doing research helps us as professionals identify strengths and weaknesses within a campaign or within our client or can help us to identify potential opportunities for our clients as well as threats. Without research it is nearly impossible to know what the best type of program is to implement for you client, whether or not you want to work with or for that client, and how you are going to go about running and applying public relations knowledge to suit that clients specific needs. This brings me to my next point-not all clients will require the exact same public relations need and because of this practitioners use research to identify specific needs of their clients before implementing changes to their public relations programs. Research helps us to target specific audiences and publics that are identified through the process of research. This helps the practitioner to better segment the needs and appeal to new target markets. There are two basic types of research: qualitative and quantitative. Quantitative research deals more with numbers; such as how many impressions did we make, the average income of our target market, the average age of our target market, etc. While qualitative research deals more with the behaviors of our target market; such as lifestyle choices also known as psycho graphics, product purchases, brand loyalty research, etc.
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