Research is used widely by 84% of communications professionals but, on average, less than half of communication based campaigns that are delivered are actually shaped by quality research.

While three quarters (76%) of marketing and communications professionals say that outcomes to their campaigns are more successful when they are based on research, there is also an admission that some outputs can lack the ‘wow’ factor. So what can businesses do to put the passion back into market research and start reaping the benefits of an effective marketing campaign?

1. Finding your perfect partner

A growing percentage of research is now a tick-box exercise – led by DIY methodologies that typically yield simplistic results. Good research – the kind that empowers storytelling and intrigues audiences – relies on a rigour that’s too often a casualty of the self-serve model. An effective research partner will understand the science of market research – and, in contrast to insular DIY approaches, they’ll take a consultative approach to the development of programmes that drive actionable insight.

2. Emotional connection

Good content is about much more than generating page views to stimulate ad revenues – it emotionally connects with its audience in ways that challenge thinking and change behaviours. And more often than not, it uses data as a fuel for creative storytelling to capture the hearts and minds of readers.

3. Get that number

The key determinants of lifeless content are numerous and subjective. However, one characteristic commonly stands out: readers like data. For example, a recent Sapio study into the information preferences of senior executives in large businesses concluded that data-rich content was the most favoured; 56% of respondents were most interested in articles that included research and statistics. It’s really no surprise: we all find safety in numbers.

4. A second date?

The key to good content, is retention. Segmenting customer personas, refine messaging and tone of voice to specific audiences, develop a customer journey map to identify points of interaction and dissatisfaction to support the creation of new, relevant engagement and retention activities. You want the consumer to come back! Critically, it is the exploratory research that delivers the ‘wow’ moment; that nugget of insight that can open up the new lines of conversation with a client.

A US poet once wrote: “the universe is not made of atoms, it’s made up of tiny stories.” Good research can help you unearth those stories and tell them in ways that engage and excite.

By Andrew White, Co-founder & Managing Partner, Sapio Research

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