Market research is a great way to generate unique content to engage with B2B customers and build brand awareness. Eye-catching statistics and data-led insights can capture the attention of both media and buyers alike – but the topics need to be carefully chosen.
So how do you get it right? We asked Angela Richmond, founder of B2B specialist data research agency RedFox Research, and regular TUVA collaborator, to share some tips.
1. Be Brave
Probably the biggest trap we see clients fall into is sticking too rigidly to their own agenda. They manhandle the research so much to fit their own narrative, it has nothing new to say.
Remember, this content sits at the top of the sales funnel. You’re trying to build brand awareness and/or generate demand or leads for your clients. So long as you get attention and downloads you’ve served that purpose. This isn’t the place for the hardsell.
So be thought-provoking. Read around the subject and think about what questions are left unanswered. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask yourself what they will worrying about. Take off your company hat and think about what interests you as an individual.
2. Choose your audience wisely
B2B clients often think their target will want to read about people like themselves. Sometimes, when we are at a turning point (think Brexit or COVID), or on the cusp of a technology revolution, that can be true. In the weeks after Brexit was announced, business people were desperate to know how their peers were reacting to the news.
But more often than not, your customer will be hungry for information about the audience they serve. Let’s say you’re a FinTech selling a payments service to retailers. Yes, they will be interested in the range of payment options their competitors offer; but they will be more interested in what payments options consumers want.
So look beyond your own target audience and consider carrying out a survey of consumers, end users or employees – whoever it is your target engages with.
3. Structure your survey around an organising idea
If you’ve asked some insightful questions on a relevant topic, chances are you’ll get some revealing headline stats. In fact, a good tip is to think about what you’d like those headlines to be.
If you’re writing a thought piece or a white paper, though, you’ll need a more nuanced story with some depth. That takes a little more planning.
Start with an organising idea, or a hypothesis. Maybe there is a trend you’ve observed that could be brought to life with some hard evidence, or perhaps you’ve heard anecdotally that businesses are struggling with a specific problem. If it’s a problem your target buyer is personally tasked with managing, they will love you for giving them hard data to build a business case.
Let’s imagine, for example, you have a product that gives online retailers accurate address information so deliveries reach their destination safely. If you can calculate the cost of failed deliveries, that’s going to be far more valuable to your buyers than a stat on how many retailers have a problem with failed deliveries.
Alternatively, look at what defines success. How do the most profitable companies use technology? How is the approach to innovation different in super-high growth companies? Why have some businesses weathered the COVID crisis better than others?
Or you could tease out a segment story, contrasting the differences between business segments or generations: “Millennials and Gen Z more likely to use tech to manage mental health” for example.
Follow the tips above and you should have the data to build an engaging story. Then it’s over to your creative team, copywriters and PR agency to create dynamic content and get the story heard. Good luck!