Turn Marketing Research Into Lead Generation and Public Relations Gold
Marketing research isn't just a way to collect opinions, measure awareness or test positioning statements any more. Packaged correctly, your research itself can be your message. You are able to turn your results into media stories that attract favorable publicity and establish you or your organization as an authority. Or you can craft compelling premiums – reports, guides or booklets – with must-have information that generates leads.
Case in point: I worked with an agency that promised its client, a software provider in the mergers and acquisitions field, 500 qualified leads because of its sales team. The entire 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 came from one-on-one interviews with the client and its customers. The offer worked: we ultimately pulled at the least 1,200 qualified leads, significantly more than doubling the client's expectations.
Another case: One my other clients, a franchise market research report in New Jersey, initiated research to poll franchise executives regarding agencies and agency relationships. Nevertheless 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 has become the foundation for a media campaign and a major 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 research with respect to the franchise marketing agency. We put our brains together and came up with a few pointers on who should leverage research and how they ought to begin it.
Who is able to package research to their advantage?
Businesses with big “brain capital”: Think professional services and consulting firms. Or industries such as for example financial services, insurance or healthcare. Here, knowledge is money. Any insights you provides on how customers think, feel, hope and fear posseses an immediate value your clients will appreciate.
Non-profit organizations: In any major fundraising campaign, the true money originates from a number of big contributors. But before the big players pony up, they need evidence that the necessity is real, the goal desirable and the corporation effective. A third-party report predicated on objective data can be the story you need to win over major contributors.
Political organizers: Gathering support for a referendum, like a tax override, can be tough work. But you can soften the bottom by distributing research that lets voters understand what their neighbors are thinking. Likewise, incumbent parties can package data regarding constituent desires – what voters said they need from their government – with facts on how the federal government has responded to their concerns.
What do you do with the research you've gathered?
Pepper your press releases: Reporters in many cases are too busy to conduct deep investigations on their own. That's 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% believe that competition from China will cripple the nation's textile industry next five years.” Or: “Consumer surveys indicate that CD music sales still run strong in the 50+ crowd.”
Share it in your own bylined articles: Consultants and other service providers looking to establish “thought leadership” are usually eager for ideas which they are able to build bylined articles. One good research study can be fodder for a half-dozen substantive articles on the basis of the data you've gathered. These may be put in industry-relevant publications. Or you can bypass traditional media and distribute your articles online via a syndication site such as for example EzineArticles.com.
Assembled a premium to attract leads: It's one of many perennial problems of business-to-business marketing: how do you get the attention of the big decision-makers and top executives you have to persuade to make the sale? Here's your ace-in-the-hole: they're hungry for information. They want to understand 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 can 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 have you got to know?
Keep your strategic information to yourself: That you don't need certainly to (and should not) give everything away. Any specific information you uncover that gives you a bonus over your direct competitors – and would likewise help your competitors if they ought to obtain on the job it – you should keep to yourself.
It's not that expensive: Some people balk at the expense of research. But contemplate it – what's a few thousand dollars to survey a couple of hundred people? For the amount of money you'd spend on a moderate media buy (and for a short period at that), you can gain raw material for articles, press releases, premium guides, Site content, direct mail, e-newsletters and more. In the greater marketing context, the proper marketing research is really a downright bargain.
The Web is changing everything: Back in the days of the past (meaning: just many years ago) your opportunities to disseminate information were restricted to your influence with the media. Nevertheless the Web has evolved into an exceptional messaging platform that always leaves the traditional media players behind. Consider what's available now to help 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 can help you receive the phrase out. And through the energy of hyperlinks and search engine robots, your word can spread must faster in bits and bytes than it'd in ink or broadcast signals.
Make research part of your message
Before you begin your following big PR or marketing campaign, think of conducting research first – not only as helpful information for the campaign, but as the very substance of your offers, your message, your brand. Because the simplest way to rise above the clutter is to provide your prospects something better than more clutter – honest-to-goodness information and insight they are able to really use.