Market research is an incredibly powerful tool. It serves at least two purposes: First, it offers quantitative insights that you can apply directly to your company’s products, sales efforts, marketing strategy and other areas.
Second, it yields valuable raw material that you can feed back into your marketing campaigns. Nothing validates the business need for a product or service like a study that shows your prospects what their peers are thinking.
There are two objections to creating custom research and surveys: It’s complicated, and it’s prohibitively expensive. Neither of these objections is really valid today.
A number of online survey tools make the process of developing and conducting surveys easy and inexpensive. We use SurveyMonkey for many of our internal research projects, but there are many others to choose from.
It’s also a fairly simple matter to identify relevant segments of your marketing database to conduct a survey. You can purchase third-party lists or work with a third-party research firm. Some of these firms maintain research-panel databases with millions of members; it’s possible to generate virtually any combination of job title, industry, region or other criteria with a few mouse clicks.
Before you add original research to your content marketing mix, however, think carefully about how to make the most of this investment. Like most good content marketing, this is never a one-off, stand-alone activity. A single study can (and should) provide fodder for a series of presentation papers, webinar discussions and social media posts.
When we work with clients on research projects or conduct our own benchmark studies, the results can power additional content initiatives for weeks or months after the original report.
It’s also a great way to drum up interest among bloggers and journalists, many of whom are constantly on the hunt for interesting facts and figures.