After completing two recent studies with Market Connections, we reached out Christie Cox, Marketing Director at Unisys Federal to understand how this research is supporting their marketing and sales strategies. Unisys’s offerings include security software and services; digital transformation and workplace services; industry applications and services; and innovative software operating environments for high-intensity enterprise computing. Unisys has always understood that the federal market has unique challenges and needs; from budgetary restrictions to constantly changing federal mandates and requirements; and has been a long time consumer of research in the industry.
MC: Can you give us a little background as to why you conducted this research and how you are leveraging your results?
Christie: Market-relevant research of our targeted government audience is invaluable to help us understand our client’s pain points so we can drive solutions to better support their missions. We leveraged the results [from a recent research study] for a very successful live event for the industry that resulted in meeting potential clients, gaining thought leadership media placements; and we continue using the data as ongoing messaging points for why we design our solutions plans.
MC: We understand you see the value in research, as you are conducting additional studies this year. Can you share any ROI you have seen or expect to see from the studies you have already conducted and share why it’s important for you to continue to do studies?
Christie: We plan to conduct another major research-based campaign in 2018 around technology’s influence with automation on the federal changes in their workforce. We feel it is very important to take a pulse of the audience to best understand how Unisys can meet their needs. The marketing and PR ROI is, as usual, difficult to measure, but we highly value the opportunity to lead industry discussions from our previous research in digital government, IT modernization, and biometrics-based identity intelligence. The market research we employed Market Connections to conduct for us has led Unisys to be a first and early thought leader in the industry and provided value that is unmeasurable for positioning for future deals.
MC: What advice would you give a marketing director who wants to do a research project?
Christie: Pay close attention to your design of the research survey questions because they are critical to the end results you will see and what gets measured. Make sure you ask all of the right questions, and Market Connections can help you achieve that.
Market Connections would like to thank Christie for taking time to share insights on how Unisys Federal is using the research provided to further their work in the federal market.
See results from Unisys Federal’s recent studies:
- Keeping our Nation Secure: The Status of Federal Agencies Security Postures
- The State of Affairs of Federal IT Modernization: How Agencies Can Achieve Straight A’s
ANNOUNCED ON MAY 1, 2018: Unisys’s Modernization Revolution Marketing Campaign won the American Business Awards’ Stevie Bronze Award in the Government/Institutional/Recruitment category. See all the winners: https://stevieawards.com/aba/2018-marketing-award-winners
Technology companies selling to the public sector understand there are many differences between this market and the private sector. Savvy organizations commission primary thought leadership research to help them better understand their target audience by drilling down into the unique challenges and barriers they face, the goals they are trying to achieve, and how they define success. Armed with this information, they can better support their public sector customers with the right solutions and communicate to them more effectively.
Over the last two years, Nutanix has commissioned two thought leadership research projects for this purpose. Kim Hower, Nutanix Director, Public Sector Marketing sat down with us to discuss the value of thought leadership research.
Market Connections: You have now done two of these thought leadership studies. Why is this kind of research important to you and to Nutanix?
Kim: In order to be more effective in our go-to-market planning, we need to dig deeper and understand what our target audience is experiencing, so we can be more effective in helping them. Nothing compares to well-prepared and executed primary research. Independent, blind studies remove the biases or inhibitions that can sometimes present themselves in face-to-face conversations.
Primary research can validate our perspective and/or enable us to course-correct if needed. It also helps us communicate more empathetically in our marketing, because we understand our prospects’ experience better.
MC: For either of the projects, did you get any surprising insights?
Kim: Yes and no. In both studies, the data affirmed our existing position and vision. This was especially useful with the cloud study that we just completed; it feels like we are in the right place at the right time with the right message. And now we have some really great impact data to support all of the things that we have been saying with respect to our vision for enterprise cloud. That’s a really nice enhancement to our messaging. Both studies also revealed some surprises that the Market Connections team gleaned through their analysis of the data. They went deeper than just reporting the respondents’ answers to our questions – they cross-tabulated the data to find interesting facts that helped give us deeper intelligence on our market, and definitely gave us a better story to tell.
MC: How are you leveraging the study results?
Kim: First, we expect each study to have a one-year shelf life, which gives us ample opportunity to leverage the results in multiple ways – thought leadership, demand generation, press engagement, and more. We created landing pages and put the results reports there for download. These created a great single hub for our calls to action for everyone interested to download the full report. We’ve also been doing some dedicated social media postings on all of our social channels – Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn. We have terrific infographics that we use not only in the white paper, but independently to put on our company website to help enhance the content.
We also use the data in presentations. That is particularly useful for our sales team because it gives them strong, data-supported talking points that help them dive deeper during their conversations.
MC: What kind of return have you seen or expect to see?
Kim: The studies are essential to validate and refine our go-to-market messaging, to inform our sales materials and other collaterals, to use as a tool to generate raw leads or nurture existing ones, and to provide a thought leadership platform for our spokespeople. To-date, these investments have been the only primary research we have that is focused exclusively on the Federal market, and so they’re invaluable to us. We will definitely repeat this work in the future.
Thank you, Kim, for taking the time to share your experience with our audience.
Learn more about Nutanix thought leadership studies:
- The Enterprise Cloud Balancing Act: Emerging Trends in the U.S. Federal Government
- Hyperconverged Infrastructure: An Effective and Efficient Path to Federal IT Modernization
We are firm believers in the power of well-done thought leadership. Our clients who do these projects share the ROI, and it is substantial — from becoming known as the industry experts in one area (SolarWinds) to increasing sales (Iron Mountain), thought leadership has a real, measurable impact.
That’s why we were thrilled to see the results from an Edleman and LinkedIn study. We know thought leadership is effective and our own studies show that decision makers value it. This study of 1,300 business decision makers went deeper to uncover additional insights, including:
- Thought leadership can directly lead to inclusion in RFP opportunities. In the study, 41% of C-suite executives and 37% of business decision makers said that after engaging in high quality thought leadership, they invited an organization to bid.
- Thought leadership increases trust. People buy from people they trust and 80% of business decision makers said thought leadership has increased trust in a vendor organization.
However, these things only hold true when thought leadership is well executed. When poorly done, it actually harms perceptions and has a negative impact — one third of the respondents said they had removed a company from an opportunity list after engaging with poor thought leadership. What is quality thought leadership according to these respondents?
- It delivers facts and insights about emerging trends.
- It contains supporting data (in charts and graphics).
- It contains analysis of underlying issues and events.
The study contains a wealth of useful information and insights, and we encourage you to look at the full study results. Hopefully they will inspire you to incorporate more thought leadership into your content marketing plan.
Click here to learn how Market Connections helps customers craft thought leadership studies that give you the facts to support your expertise.