Sharing the Cost of Research
Depending on the size of your organization, there may be other departments that need information similar to what you plan to gather. Similarly, you may have strategic partners or resellers who would be interested in sharing the research cost and results.
For example, we recently concluded a research study for a large IT company that was funded by four independent divisions. The study met each division’s information objectives at a more affordable price for each. Equally important, the collaborative process of developing the survey and reviewing the findings facilitated a broader understanding of each division’s market circumstances and sparked ideas for synergistic marketing programs between them.
Market Connections has also worked with a number of companies that have partnered with non-competing partners or VARs on co-branded research studies. This has enabled each participant to conduct a large quantitative study at a lower investment level.
Marketing the Research Results
Many companies leverage research studies to position themselves as thought leaders in the market. They utilize key findings to secure press coverage as well as build content for white papers, webinars, road shows, and web sites. You could do the same. But remember, the primary objective of your research should be business intelligence, not marketing fuel. Avoid filtering or twisting the results to support a particular position or selling point, as that will be transparent and you’ll quickly lose credibility. Equally important, using a professional research firm to conduct the study helps assure the audience that the results are valid and unbiased.
Planning Ahead for Success
Careful upfront planning of the research project is required when conducting it with other entities or when you intend to use the results in marketing programs. Your research firm will help you structure the study to explore areas in which your audience would be particularly interested. They’ll also help you determine in the analysis what information should be held close to the chest versus what can be repackaged for marketing and PR. With joint research projects, the experts will structure the study to ensure the primary focus is germane to all parties, while customizing some questions or section to address the needs of each. Again – leave this to the experts, or you’ll be at high risk of creating a survey instrument that is too long and confusing for the respondents to answer.