Discovery means research, and whether you’re working on a high-level marketing plan or the details of a particular marketing campaign, it is a step that you don’t want to skip.

So what exactly is it that you need to discover? Information. You want the solid, relevant information about your customers, market and competition that will ensure your plans are based on metrics and reality rather than on gut feelings and wishful thinking. Just what is “relevant,” of course, depends on the nature of your project. But here are some general guidelines about the types of information you might need, and where you might look to find it.