A few days ago, Mantis Research and BuzzSumo published the results of their latest survey regarding the use of original research in marketing. The State of Original Research for Marketing 2019 survey was fielded in May and June of this year and produced 644 responses from global marketers. Forty-seven percent of the respondents were from the United States, and 70% were affiliated with B2B companies.
Both Michele Linn with Mantis Research and Chris McCormick with BuzzSumo have written excellent summaries of the research results. You can find Michele’s summary here and Chris’ summary here. If you’re a B2B marketer, I encourage you to read both of these articles, and even better, take the time to review the full survey report.
In the 2019 survey, 39% of the respondents said they had published the results of original research within the 12 months preceding the survey. The comparable percentage in the 2018 version of the survey was 47%. Chris McCormick believes this drop is primarily due to a shift in the demographics of the survey pool rather than a decline in research use, and I tend to agree with his view.
The survey also found that users of original research for marketing are generally satisfied with its performance. Sixty-one percent of the respondents who had conducted research reported that it had met or exceeded their expectations, and 88% said they plan to conduct additional research in the next 12 months.
So overall, this study indicates that a substantial number of companies have made original research an integral part of their marketing efforts.
The use of original research in marketing is not a new phenomenon. However, I would argue that for most large and mid-size B2B companies, and for many smaller B2B firms, original research has now become essential for effective marketing. Here’s why.
Effective B2B Marketing Requires Real Thought Leadership Content
For most B2B companies, effective marketing now requires the development of compelling thought leadership content. Numerous research studies have confirmed that business buyers highly value thought leadership content, and that it impacts B2B purchase decisions at every stage of the buying process.
For example, in a 2018 survey of 1,201 business decision makers by Edelman and LinkedIn:
- 58% of respondents said they spend one hour or more per week consuming thought leadership content
- 55% said thought leadership content is a important way to vet potential suppliers
- 58% said good thought leadership content caused them to award business to a company
- 61% of C-level respondents said good thought leadership content made them more willing to pay a premium to work with a company
So the bottom line is, effective B2B marketing requires compelling thought leadership content, and original research is the only viable source for such content.