Marketing professionals often turn to primary research to hone strategies, develop products, and add insight to advertising campaigns. But can marketing research help solve social challenges?
Across Florida, hundreds of children have suffered trauma, abuse, and neglect—and they desperately need safe, loving homes. To address this social dilemma, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded a special grant to launch the Florida Intelligent Recruitment Project (FIRP). This demonstration project includes child welfare lead agencies from throughout the state to test a marketing-driven method for recruiting foster and adoptive parents for older children. STRIKEGOLD’s research-based Intelligent Imagination™ approach is the cornerstone of this campaign.
Prior to FIRP, very few large-scale research studies had investigated the psychological characteristics that lead people to open their hearts and homes to children in need. And no research had specifically studied foster and adoptive parents for older youth.
STRIKEGOLD conducted hundreds of one-on-one interviews with foster and adoptive parents across Florida, then launched an even larger online survey. This research enabled the agency to determine the psychographics, message preferences, and media use of high-quality foster and adoptive parents and prospects.
Perhaps the most unexpected finding of the research was that many of Florida’s best foster and adoptive parents had themselves experienced some form of trauma, or they had personal experience with the child welfare system. This life experience reinforced participants’ self-described “calling” to help others—especially children—and they had a clear preference for emotional messages highlighting the plight of local children.
The agency used the research results to develop strategic recruitment plans for lead agencies throughout the state. Those who implemented the recommended messaging and marketing tactics reported record levels of foster and adoptive parent recruitment. Simply put, marketing grounded in research is now helping children in need find the loving homes that they deserve.
The success of this initiative demonstrates that applying proven marketing principles can help solve some of today’s most pressing social challenges.