As marketers, it's easy to develop a "tunnel vision" of sorts that keeps us focused on the message we want to convey instead of the message our audiences want to hear. Case in point: 74% of B2B buyers consider original research to be influential in their purchasing decisions, yet only 37% of B2B marketers include research in their content marketing efforts.
Your audience wants to stay current on industry trends, peer insights, and competitive benchmarks, and you can give them what they want.
In this episode of Marketing Smarts, B2B Marketing Forum speaker Clare McDermott, head of research at Mantis Research, offers a sneak peek into her presentation. She'll share some examples of how companies have used original research to enhance their content marketing.
She also offers insight into what it takes to produce original research, from survey design and data analysis to data journalism and data visualization. Along the way, Clare shares some tips for getting started.
Here are some highlights from our conversation. (You can also see Clare's entire presentation at the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum 2018, where she'll present "Give Them What They Want: Produce Original Research Your Audience Craves.")
Use your data to provide original research content for your audience (02:52): "Oftentimes, when we talk about research and marketing, we're talking about market research, about customer research, and even, to some extent, business analytics and website analytics. But what we talk about is research as content. How to use the data inside your organization, be it user data or any other type of owned data, as well as survey data, and turning that into content to build your audience and to really tell stories about your organization.
"There's such a wide opportunity to publish original data. Everyone's talking about how much data is inside organizations, but they rarely think about 'how could we take that [data] and pull insights from it that would be engaging to our audience?'"
When creating original research, use a scientific approach (06:41): "Have you gone into it with a research or a data mindset, such that you're not chasing a particular answer, but you're really acting as a scientist and testing hypotheses? Using all of the skills that a good data scientist would use, adequate sample size, and a representative sample. Some things to consider on the survey side: If you're running a survey, and say that you're, for example, studying content marketers, if you use only your own audience to get survey responses, is your audience, in fact, representative of your target and what you're ostensibly trying to study?"
Doing original research doesn't have to be expensive and daunting—start small (11:00): "There was a recent survey from a company called Black Hat. They do IT security. And they actually surveyed people at a conference, so they wanted to see how people who worked in IT security, how their own personal behaviors had changed related to how they share their personal data, almost as a bellwether for how the rest of us should think about data and data privacy.
"They surveyed people at a conference. In some ways, you have a captive audience there to survey. It was done really, really well. They're not paying for panel responses, which can get really, really expensive, depending on what audience you're trying to survey, but actually having people fill out a survey at a conference, which is a great idea."
Clare and I talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!
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Music credit: Noam Weinstein.