B2B marketing is unsentimental: It has to show how our products will make our prospects more profitable. We like to lean on research, data and studies to show we understand customers’ problems well enough to provide the best solutions. And sometimes we find the facts that perfectly illustrate our case have already been produced by professional research firms.
We love the idea of citing this data until we get the sticker shock: research firms can fetch prices like $2,500 and $4,000 for their work. Professional journals are another fantastic source of credible research with a similar challenge of being locked behind pricy paywalls.
And this leaves us in a bind: We respect our prospects’ intelligence enough to know they need the best facts from the best sources, but how do we access that research without decimating our B2B marketing budgets?
2 Examples of Tapping into Expensive Research
The other day I was writing a white paper for a high-tech startup and my research led me to an article in the business press citing a report from Gartner Group that was a steal at just $1,495. I could’ve just quoted the news story, but I prefer citing the original source. That tells my prospects I’m not content to hand them some reporter’s version of the facts: I take them straight to the facts themselves.
Buying the report wasn’t an option, but then I remembered that most market research firms issue press releases built around the big-picture numbers that form the backbone of their reports. With a few clicks at Gartner’s website, I found the company newsroom, tracked down their press release and had my facts in hand in a few minutes, absolutely free.
Another example is PubMed, the U.S. National Library of Medicine produced by the National Institutes of Health. PubMed indexes just about every medical journal article published in the U.S., and provides a free overview of the results of scientists’ research. I’ve found that the best facts in these articles often are contained in the free summaries.
5 Tips for Tracking Down Original Research
Sources of original research are far too numerous to mention here (they number in the thousands). With a bit of poking around online, however, you should be able to find research that applies to your industry. Here are some tips for tracking down the facts you need and getting them for free:
- Picture exactly what you want to know. How much is the market expected to grow? Which companies represent these trends?
- Do some Web surfing. It usually isn’t hard to track down the companies that provide this research. Often you’ll find them, as I did, quoted in the business press.
- See how much free data attractive prospects post online. Every company has its own idea of how much it thinks it can release for free; some are generous, some are stingy.
- Don’t give up on a company just because the facts you want aren’t public on its website. Contact somebody on the company’s media relations team and ask if they can release a segment of the research to you in exchange for mentioning them and the information in your B2B marketing materials.
- Do a quick phone interview with one of the authors of the report. Don’t waste their time: Make your questions very concise and pointed: just three or four queries that might produce great quotes to strengthen your blog post, white paper or report.
Think Like a Journalist
This is another of those cases where B2B content marketers need to think like journalists on the prowl for a scoop. The best stories happen when somebody asks the questions nobody else is asking, and talks to the people nobody else is talking to.
The sticker prices on original research give the impression that the only way to access the data is to buy the whole car. But plenty of companies provide free test drives.
Reputation Capital Media Services is a Baton Rouge marketing agency that helps B2B companies and their marketing agencies produce high-quality digital content, including blog posts, e-mail newsletters, white papers and multimedia. Our editors and writers are experts in their fields, which include HR technology, employee benefits, and financial services and accounting. Contact us for a free 30-minute consultation to find out how great content can help you attract and retain your customers.