Jessica Davis, Senior Account Manager at Spreckley
PR has dramatically evolved past traditional media relations, and with every organisation having a story to tell and dozens of innovative competitors, it’s never been harder to cut through the noise. It’s for this reason that PR specialists and indeed marketers have to constantly find new tactics and creative ideas to engage with audiences.
Research based marketing campaigns are a great way to cut through this noise and to position yourself as an expert in your field. Research provides a wealth of content and strengthens a marketing campaign with credible, hard facts. Especially with the recent expose on fake news, it’s never been more important for stories to be supported and to be credible.
The key benefits of running a research programme is that it provides you with unique insights and evidential support. For example, if you’re launching a product, having evidence to support the need for that product, will be advantageous when promoting it. However, it’s important that companies and brands don’t just execute a research campaign without proper thought into what information their customers and the influencers within their field will be interested in. Similarly, it’s crucial that organisations do not try to skew the results through leading questions. This kind of tactic will instantly detract from the credibility, and from a PR point of view, will deter journalists who will see through this.
Research based PR stories have been criticised for being manipulative and some are asking if we’ve hit ‘peak surveys’. I believe that research is only as useful as the analysis that goes with it. The credibility of PR campaigns can sometimes be challenged when campaigns try to stretch research findings to fit an analysis that just doesn’t stack up. Sometimes, your campaign messages need to adjust to the findings and not the other way around!
The best research is born out of a gap in knowledge or plays on our inquisitiveness. If it’s not information that will help us (personally or professionally) or will entertain us, then audiences won’t engage with it.
There are different ways in which you can execute a research campaign and how you should go about this depends on your target market. For example, you can look at consumer surveys, targeted sector surveys, targeted job role surveys, freedom of information requests and you can either conduct qualitative or quantitative research.
Whichever route you choose, you will be able to build a wealth of content from the research results, including:
- Sales collateral
- Press releases
- Video content
- Social media content
- Advertising content
- Outbound email campaigns
- Speaking topics
Keep an eye out for another blog in a few weeks’ time with some top tips for drafting effective survey questions.