Some really interesting insights have been pulled together from different surveys by eMarketer (including Clutch, an Ascend2 study, and Demand Gen's Report), which reveals for instance:
- Which types of content are seen as most effective by US marketers (original research wins this one, followed by infographics, product reviews, videos, and blogs). Ebooks and podcasts by contrast were both the least produced, and perceived as least effective.
- A survey comparing the most difficult vs most effective types of content, ranks research reports and blog posts as the most effective. Blogs were seen as the least difficult to produce, while research reports ranked as the second most difficult to produce (behind videos/podcasts).
I agree with Jeremy Kressmann's conclusion that education is part of the appeal of research reports, but I also think that in the current murky waters of fake news people want to get their hands on reliable data they can refer back to and share with authority. It's not just about creating content that is useful to your audience, it's also about creating content they would feel a little proud to share.
There is a lot riding on creating a successful piece of research - do it right and your business will acquire the coveted halo of trusted advisor. Get it wrong though, and your business will be tainted by association.
What is it about research that makes it such important marketing tool in the B2B sector? Education is likely part of the appeal, as B2B customers are often looking for insights that will help aid with their own business decision-making. Helping customers better understand the value of complex, technology-driven B2B products is another factor, as such research can often help illuminate the products' potential applications for customers. In fact, in a January 2016 Demand Gen Report of how US B2B buyers thought content aimed at them could be improved, many suggested they wanted more insight from industry thought leaders (96%) and "less focus on product specifics and more focus on value" (92%).