The key is coming up with good original research.
Look through your own data sources. You may be able to find emerging trends in the course of doing business with your customers or buried in your ‘big data.’ One of my clients, ThreatMetrix, publishes threat trends discovered in its global threat network.
Commission a survey. Another option is to commission research into your market or prospects from a third party research organization. You gain the credibility of the researching organization while retaining the ability to control the overall topic and direction of the research.
Conduct your own research. I’d suggest hiring someone with market research expertise to guide you, and be careful about making claims if there isn’t statistical significance. But if your budget is tight and your aim a little lower, even a good online survey can provide a little insight.
Original research may take an upfront investment, but it can have a big payoff.
Research has content marketing ‘legs’
There are so many ways to use and re-use original research.
- Publish the research in a report – you could put the full report behind a registration form to use it for lead generation
- Get media coverage with press releases about key findings
- Create a webinar presenting your key findings (again, good for lead generation)
- Post a video of someone talking through the key points on your website or a video sharing site
- Spin off multiple blogs on specific aspects of the research
- Develop infographics from the research
The extra bonus? The research can guide your marketing efforts as well. The more informed you are about prospects’ concerns or market trends, the more responsive you can be.