Market Research for Public Relations, Marketing, and Content Strategy

market research public relations marketing content strategyWe all know Google rules the world at this point. Although Amazon appears to be gaining ground based on the news in recent weeks. Naturally, in a digital world where everything begins with search, Bing, Yahoo, others struggle to put a chink in Google's armor.

Businesses all over the world want to rank high on search through SERP (search engine ranking pages). What your company offers online for public relations articles, marketing information, and content plays a major role in awareness, visibility, and being found online.

Years ago, the content bus was relatively empty. Many companies didn't understand content or care to produce it on a regular basis because of the time commitment. So those companies that chose to take a risk to embark on a blog and commit to content still reap the dividends today from that search traffic today. Likely page views, leads, and revenue they would not have received otherwise without a strong content strategy.

Now that the content bus is full, Google has more content than ever to scan, index, and crawl on the world wide web. Companies are sharing social tidbits, writing blogs, adding copy to their website, and crafting press releases non-stop. Content has become a 24-7-365 task which never stops. Therefore it's not as easy anymore to stand out and rank.

With the sheer amount of content being uploaded to the internet each minute creating a overloaded bus, how can your company stand out from your competitors?

Via (What happens on the internet in 60 seconds?)

The chart above shows what happens on the internet every 60 seconds. Overwhelming, we know.

Many of you working in marketing, content, public relations for your company have this feeling every day. What can we do different? Why doesn't our content catch on? How can we find some information that will go viral? How can we be more visible on Google?

You're constantly being forced to prove the value of impressions, leads, and ROI.

Sound familiar? You're not alone.

Creating fresh content, press release news stories, and marketing copy in general is a real pain point for many of you. Lucky for you. We are here to help give you some options.

Market Research Data Can Be Powerful, Convincing, and Influential

I know, I know. You think, "Market research? That's just data and numbers. Customer satisfaction stuff. Focus groups. Or something you use to test a new product. What does that have to do with any of my public relations or content marketing strategy?" Exactly, I knew this is what you were thinking didn't I?

Bare with me.

However, more and more companies are using market research for public relations, content marketing, and marketing copy purposes.

The days of separating sales and market research are over.

Data has become so powerful and compelling, many marketing companies are commissioning custom market research projects to fuel ideas and sales strategies.

Marketing agencies and public relations companies use market research firms like Drive Research to create surveys. These surveys are custom-built and aimed at targeted audiences to collect data and feedback. These can be both B2B and B2C respondents.

Here are some examples of studies and surveys that would provide powerful data for your public relations, press releases, blogs, website, and marketing materials.

Example 1: Industry Study

The goal of this study is to get a lay of the land from professionals who work in the particular industry (e.g., manufacturing, advertising, IT, education, healthcare, construction, etc.) Whatever the audience might be, online panels have sample pools available.

The survey can be customized to ask any number and types of questions. Your market research firm will likely recommend several as well as listen to your feedback and objectives for how your company would like to use the results. The survey can be branded accordingly such as the "Construction Worker Industry Study" or the "Nursing Field Industry Study".

Using a third-party market research firm is critical here. It adds to the credibility, honesty, and removes any doubt around bias in the results.

Much like if Pepsi were to produce a study on Diet Cola Drinkers, would readers truly believe all results would be unbiased? However, if Pepsi stated a recent study conducted by an independent market research company confirmed Diet Pepsi was the most preferred diet cola on the market, it would carry more weight right? Exactly.

Think about the types of industry studies you may want to conduct at your company. These help position your firm with unique data to pin it as the thought-leader and expert in the field. Better yet, it's not you saying it. It's a separate third-party vendor.

The data returned from an online survey is really only the beginning. It creates a tree of content with branches upon branches upon branches of different stories and nuggets.

Example 2: Explore a Hot Button Topic

Times, they are a changing. With new technologies, software, and tools, the routines of both business professionals and consumers are rapidly changing. But how do your customers and non-customers feel about these topics? This is a perfect change to use some market research to find out.

Here are some hot button topics that have recently been explored through a nationwide survey to gather measurable and definitive data points on people's attitudes and feelings:

  • How has the open office environment impacted productivity in the workplace?
  • How much do data security professionals worry about threats and cyber attacks?
  • How big of an impact does loss prevention and shrink have on store and restaurant operations?
  • How do consumers feel about the evolving healthcare service market?
  • What are the biggest challenges facing marketers over the next 12 months?
  • What are the largest travel and tourism trends your seeing over the past 3 years?
  • What are the 3 largest barriers for small business owners when trying to grow revenues?

Other ideas in mind?

Your survey can provide you with unique data and feedback that no other company has or can offer. You can be first to market with it and watch as it shared across the industry to many of your potential buyers.

Example 3: Competitor Assessment

Always wondered how your company's customer service stacks up against your competitors? Wonder no more with a well-written and targeted survey. Just ask.

For these competitive assessments or compare cards, you can gain ratings of your competitors on items like customer service, value, capabilities, responsiveness, etc. Better yet? You can collect ratings from your own company on the same metrics and show potential prospects where you score better.

Wouldn't it be nice to commission and independent study among users of your and your competitors product to find out you were the #1 rated company nationwide? Powerful insights right? It would make for an awfully compelling press release, blog post, and sales materials to share with potential prospects. Probably all 3.

To say you win is one thing. To say you win and it's confirmed by a national independent market research firm is a whole different story.

How many survey completes do I need?

This is probably the most common question when it comes to content marketing surveys. Do I need 100 completes, 200 completes, 400 completes, 1,000 completes?

In the days of a pure random sample among a probabilistic sample this was a lot easier to answer. This type of approach allowed market researchers to calculate a margin of error. 100 completes provided a +/- 10% margin of error. 400 completes provided a +/- 5% margin of error. 1,000 completes produced a +/- 2% margin of error.

Some market research firms still use these metrics for online surveys or panel surveys which is a major no no.

These metrics are all but gone in the days of online surveys and convenience sampling. The trade off of cost and turn-around time of an online survey outweigh the guaranteed statistical reliability. The industry has basically accepted the fact that more data, quicker data, and cheaper data is better than expensive, time consuming, statistically reliable data.

All studies that are referenced in press releases and posted online have a minimum of 100 completes. This is our minimum suggest for most any market research project with a client.

Most have at least 200 to 400 completes. Several go as high as 1,000. The more completed surveys you reference the more credibility your study obtains.

The number of completes will depend on how difficult your audience is to reach, how large of a pool it is, and what your budget is.

But we all agree. The more, the better.

How long does the process take?

If number of completes is the most common question, this is the second most common question. The process can be completed in as little as 2 weeks.

After the kickoff, a draft survey is designed. Then programmed and tested. Fieldwork can be completed in as little as 24 to 48 hours. Report development can be turned around in 2 to 3 days in most cases.

If all things going according to plan, the turn-around time is extremely quick. Fast to field and even faster to insights on press releases, blog posts, and marketing materials. The results can be re-purposed time and time again through several sources.

Contact Us

Drive Research is a public relations market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. Our team works with marketing divisions, content strategy teams, and public relations teams to create custom market research studies to build awareness for our clients.

Thinking about getting started with a market research study to fuel your sales and marketing strategy? Contact us at 315-303-2040 or send us an email at

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