Marketing research isn’t just a way to collect opinions, measure awareness or test positioning statements any more. market research report Packaged correctly, your research itself may be your message. You can turn your results into media stories that attract favorable publicity and establish you or your company as an authority. Or you can craft compelling premiums – reports, guides or booklets – with must-have information that generates leads.
Case in point: I caused an agency that promised its client, a pc software provider in the mergers and acquisitions field, 500 qualified leads for the sales team. The whole campaign, from print ads and direct mail to e-mails and telemarketing was built around a booklet of insights on how to do better deals. The substance of the book originated from one-on-one interviews with the client and its customers. The offer worked: we ultimately pulled at least 1,200 qualified leads, significantly more than doubling the client’s expectations.
Another case: One my other clients, a franchise marketing agency in New Jersey, initiated research to poll franchise executives regarding agencies and agency relationships. However the interviews proved deeper and richer than they’d anticipated, yielding a wealth of insights on franchise marketing and franchisor-franchisee communications. The resulting report is among the most foundation for a press campaign and an important component of the agency’s branding and lead-generation efforts, which are pulling in clients as I write.
I talked to Rich Higginson, president of The Princeton Research Group, the firm that executed the study for the franchise marketing agency. We put our brains together and developed a couple of pointers on who should leverage research and how they will start it.
Who will package research for their advantage?
Businesses with big “brain capital”: Think professional services and consulting firms. Or industries such as for instance financial services, insurance or healthcare. Here, knowledge is money. Any insights you can offer how customers think, feel, hope and fear comes with an immediate value your clients will appreciate.
Non-profit organizations: In virtually any major fundraising campaign, the real money originates from a small number of big contributors. But ahead of the big players pony up, they want evidence that the requirement is real, the target desirable and the organization effective. A third-party report based on objective data may be the story you’ll need to win over major contributors.
Political organizers: Gathering support for a referendum, like a tax override, may be tough work. But you can soften the floor by distributing research that lets voters know very well what their neighbors are thinking. Likewise, incumbent parties can package data regarding constituent desires – what voters said they want from their government – with facts how the federal government has responded for their concerns.
What can you do with the study you’ve gathered?
Pepper your press releases: Reporters are often too busy to conduct deep investigations on their own. This is exactly why editors really appreciate press releases packed with fresh, objective information that can form the core of new stories. Example: “In a survey of leading American textile manufacturers, 85% think that competition from China will cripple the nation’s textile industry in the next five years.” Or: “Consumer surveys indicate that CD music sales still run strong in the 50+ crowd.”
Share it in your bylined articles: Consultants and other service providers looking to establish “thought leadership” are usually eager for ideas on which they can build bylined articles. One good research study may become fodder for a half-dozen substantive articles based on the data you’ve gathered. These could be placed in industry-relevant publications. Or you can bypass traditional media and distribute your articles online by way of a syndication site such as for instance EzineArticles.com.
Put together a premium to attract leads: It’s one of the perennial problems of business-to-business marketing: how do you get the eye of the big decision-makers and top executives you must persuade to really make the sale? Here’s your ace-in-the-hole: they’re hungry for information. They would like to know very well what the market’s up to; what their competitors are doing; what their colleagues think; what their customers desire. Consider packaging your research into white papers, reports or guides you should use as offers in a lead-gen campaign: “Call today for the free guide, 8 Things You Must Do to Engage Hispanic Consumers.” These same reports make excellent downloads from your own website (in exchange for basic contact information, of course).
What else are you experiencing to understand?
Keep your strategic information to yourself: You don’t have to (and should not) give everything away. Any specific information you uncover that gives you a benefit over your direct competitors – and would likewise help your competitors if they will obtain hands on it – you must keep to yourself.
It’s not too expensive: Many people balk at the expense of research. But think about it – what’s a couple of thousand dollars to survey a few hundred people? For the total amount of money you’d invest in a modest media buy (and for a short period at that), you might gain raw material for articles, press releases, premium guides, Web content, direct mail, e-newsletters and more. In the more marketing context, the proper marketing research is a downright bargain.
The Web is changing everything: In the old days (meaning: just a few years ago) your opportunities to disseminate information were limited by your influence with the media. However the Web has evolved into a fantastic messaging platform that always leaves the traditional media players behind. Consider what’s available now to assist you distribute your information: blogs, e-newsletters, virtual networks and communities, press release syndication sites, article syndication sites, e-book downloads, Web-specific publishing sites. These and other online mediums might help you receive the term out. And through the energy of hyperlinks and internet search engine robots, your word can spread must faster in bits and bytes than it would in ink or broadcast signals.
Make research part of one’s message
When you begin your next big PR or marketing campaign, think of conducting research first – not merely as helpful information for the campaign, but as ab muscles substance of one’s offers, your message, your brand. Because the best way to increase above the clutter is to give your prospects something better than more clutter – honest-to-goodness information and insight they can really use.