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Using research for content marketing

On Thursday night, Raconteur hosted over 60 senior marketers and brand strategists for the sixth Custom Publishing event focusing on ‘Research at the Heart of Content’ - an invitation-only gathering held at The Ritz. The audience were keen to understand how to move away from a traditional sale-based approach and engage their stakeholders through long term education and research based content.

The main aim of the event was to help the audience achieve these objectives and develop a clear overview of what research based content marketing actually looks like and how it can be perfected; from primary research methodologies, to identifying the variables that carry the most value, and educating stakeholders.

Growing your brand

Mike Rocha, Global Director of Brand Valuation, Interbrand, kicked off the night with a presentation on how to apply research to grow your brand. He outlined that today, a brand is much more than a product; it’s a promise, an experience that has to be delivered seamlessly and coherently. In order to strengthen your brand, it’s vital to know the actions marketers can take to deliver the complete brand experience.

Mike explained that the research process creates a roadmap which allows a brand to drive action, saying “research creates focus and opportunities for quick wins and longer term initiatives to drive brand and business growth.” He summarised that connecting brand activities to research, analysis and business results will build a business case for more investment in marketing capabilities. The key is to start small, build a business case for research and then gain the support of the rest of the organisation once the research’s value has been communicated.

Capturing the C-Suite

Once the audience could begin to picture how research has the power to develop a brand, the conversation moved to finding out what type of research has the capacity to turn the heads of the C-Suite. One of our keynotes, Paul Lee, Partner, Global Head of TMT Research, Deloitte shared one of their latest research projects, the ‘Mobile Consumer Survey 2015’ titled ‘Game of Phones’. Paul emphasised the need to create distinctive marketing oriented research that has headline findings that lend themselves to conversation. And provide better data than everyone else in the game which is followed through with tailored face-to-face discussions and client presentations.

Paul made a case for building relationships with senior individuals, “our metrics are not going to be in the public domain as we are looking to provide a trusted advisory service”. When asked how research can be used as a marketing asset to create client engagement that generates brand growth, he candidly replied, “To build a relationship, it’s a long courtship. It’s not necessarily about selling.”

Commercial Insight

Finally, CEB’s Practice Leader, Anthony Belloir, provided valuable insight into the methodology of Challenger Marketing and how to produce commercial insight to drive customer loyalty.

Anthony highlighted that in a survey of B2B buyers, sales representatives who offered unique, valuable perspectives on the market and educated customers on new issues and outcomes were most likely to get the customer’s attention. This was backed up by a survey of 70,000 sales reps that found that high performers are those who look to teach and challenge their customers.

“Given the zeitgeist around content marketing, thought leadership prompted us to think, it seems to be a different type of content marketing that needs to be produced […] thought leadership isn’t enough, commercial insight is imperative!” he underlined.

Anthony defined commercial insight as “finding insights that give your customers a compelling reason to shift their mind and behaviour, giving them a reason to act.” He listed the four strands of the DNA of commercial insight; 1-Leading to your unique strength, 2-Challenging customer assumptions, 3- Catalyzing action and 4- scaling across customers. Not only should research provide clear visibility into competitive differentiators but it should also demonstrate compelling evidence around the shortcomings of current business psychology and the pressing need to change it.

Mike, Paul and Anthony’s presentations provided the audience with invaluable knowledge on how to effectively conduct research to produce content which will challenge stakeholder perceptions, turn heads, and enable the long term development and growth of their brand.

Freddie Ossberg, the Founder and Managing Director of Raconteur wrapped up the discussions, simultaneously announcing the launch of the Raconteur magazine – the UK’s first freesheet current affairs magazine that will be available at all major London tube stops on March 31st.