Content Marketing Research | Using Data for Brand Journalism

Market research has long been viewed as an approach to objectively address customer satisfaction, the appeal of a new product concept, or to better understand brand equity to name a few. As a former colleague of mine once inferred: "If market research were a country, it would be Switzerland." It's the ultimate mediator. Data provides objective results which can be hard to argue with (even though some try.)

However, an area where market research continues to evolve is how it can be leveraged for content marketing. Sales teams, marketing teams, and in particular, content marketing teams are beginning to understand the value of marketing an objective number derived from independent market research. A strong content marketing campaign can be created around numbers and statistics collected by an independent third-party market research firm.

Market research used for content marketing adopts a more powerful and influential look at data. Instead of the marketing team and sales team anecdotally saying "trust us, our product is better," data-driven research can offer a far more convincing pitch. For example, if you have some objective data to work into your sales pitch it could look something like "let this industry survey among 400 decision-makers tell you why our product has 35% higher satisfaction ratings than our competitors."

Conducting a simple industry study like this provides your content marketing teams and broader marketing teams with ammunition for discovery and sales calls. This content also becomes shareable on social and searchable for SEO. Better is not the opinion of the seller, better is the opinion of the buyer. Market research makes certain data is collected among other like-decision makers in the industry you're likely pitching your products or services to.


Find a content marketing research company that can help you design your custom survey, manage the project, collect survey completes, and creatively report on the findings.

A Market Research Report is Key

You've probably read a number of these "industry reports" or "trend reports" online. The companies that sponsor these studies typically consult with a content marketing research firm to design and draft a survey that meets your unique objectives. The survey is programmed into an online software and then the market research company works with a national or regional panel company to collect survey completes. The online panel company manages all of the rewards and fieldwork while the consultant analyzes and reports on all of your results.

If you think your audience of end-users or decision-makers is too difficult to reach you could be wrong. Online panel companies have large databases of potential survey participants that fit a variety of profiles, roles, and industries.

When you work with a content marketing research company, the report is the key piece of the process. The best market research consultants will create and weave together themes and findings rather than provide you with only Excel tables and graphs. They'll take the time to share creative infographics, bite-size takeaways to share on social media, and headlines which can be curated into future blog posts. They understand how the research can be ingrained into content strategy.

Looking to increase the ROI of your content market research? Here are some ideas.

Examples of Market Research Surveys 

Here are some examples of some common market research surveys which can be completed to help fuel endless collateral for your content marketing and content strategies for your organization. These types of global industry studies pin your organization as an expert in the field and collect unique data for your organization. This proprietary data developed as part of your customized survey is something no other competitor can offer or utilize in their marketing efforts.

Even a simple 10 question survey can provide your content marketing team with an endless amount of statistics and data to leverage as part of your sales strategy.

Compare Card Survey

Wondering how your customers and non-customers rank the competition? This can be tackled through a compare card survey. The first objective of this survey is to choose the 3 to 5 main competitors you'd like to inquire about in the online survey and compare to your organization.

Respondents are asked the likelihood to recommend the companies, products or services they've used in the past. This is tackled through a 0 to 10 scale using net promoter score (NPS) as the key performance indicator (KPI.) NPS is a very common metric used in marketing research to measure and compare performance.

In addition to measuring NPS, a list of 10 to 12 factors are also included in the survey for evaluation and comparison. These factors may include things like cost, customer service, timeliness, etc. When the analysis is completed, you'll be able to compare your organization to the 3 to 5 competitors tested on all of these factors as well as NPS.

Your content marketing team can choose the criteria where your organization outperforms competitors and choose to feature this data in your content marketing efforts. An overall compare card can be created as well as company vs. company battle cards. The company-specific battle cards can be used in situations where a sales rep knows what competitor the customer is considering (e.g., did you know, our product performs better than competitor C on likelihood to recommend, factor B factor E, and factor G.)

State of the Industry Survey

Whereas the main goal of the compare card survey is to evaluate the performance of your company versus key competitors, the state of the industry survey aims to educate your audience. Its ultimate goal is to pin you as a thought-leader in the industry. The state of the industry study aims to measure the pulse and the market outlook within a specific industry.

This type of online survey is aimed at customers, non-customers and key stakeholders in your industry. The questions include challenges end-users are facing in the industry, new trends, threats in the industry, awareness of new products, etc. The scope and content covered in this survey can be customized to whatever your needs may be.

The report often goes viral and becomes a universally shared source of information for current and new potential customers. A nice benefit of this survey is to ask respondents if they would like a copy of the survey emailed to them when they take it. Collecting emails of non-customer respondents gives you an opportunity to develop sales leads down the road after the report is delivered.

Brand Attitude, Awareness, and Perception Survey

Lastly, the brand attitude, awareness, and perception survey are somewhat of a mix between the two studies mentioned. Awareness is addressed by asking "when you think of product ABC, which brand comes to mind first?" This is also followed-up with an aided awareness question which lists the brands you'd like to inquire about with respondents.

Attitude and perception are covered in the next steps of the survey which include questions around word associations as well as positive, neutral, and negative sentiments. Additional details are collected to understand what drives brand equity.

This survey provides a company with higher-level branding and image content to market through infographics, social shares, and blog posts. This can all be re-purposed into other marketing materials to improve the ROI of the study over-and-over again.

Drive Research is a content marketing research company located in Upstate, NY. We work with clients across the country on their content marketing and content strategy surveys. These surveys collect the data they need from both B2C and B2B audiences to provide them with objective and actionable data that can be integrated into content.

Questions about an upcoming content marketing survey? Contact us at 315-303-2040 or send us an email at [email protected].

Content Marketing Research