Direct sources for content marketing research

Feb 1, 2017
Content Marketing

When researching for a content marketing strategy, how do you ensure you’re accessing authentic information about your audience? On a recent content marketing program for a trucking firm, content marketer Stephen Dupont remarked:

“Sure, it’s easy to ask in an online survey or a Facebook post… But to uncover deeper insights, we needed phone and face-to-face interviews with real drivers who haul loads of packages, parts and products all over the United States and Canada.”

This, too, has been my own experience as a marketing strategist at Lush Digital. While quality marketing research is very possible through documented sources, in my opinion, like Marvin Gaye sings, “ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby”.

Watch and learn

For a content marketing strategy I wrote recently for a maternity business, I trawled through countless online baby forums and social media groups. Yet some of the most valuable research I collected was from observation at the Perth Pregnancy Baby and Children’s Expo, where I was able to watch thousands of expectant mothers and witness firsthand what kind of information they sought out amongst many choices. Interestingly, the “Preparing for Life with a Newborn” seminar was the most popular of the day  and is now a key theme in the strategy as it rolls out.

Similarly, I’m currently working on a strategy where a global firm is looking to communicate with graduates as part of their recruitment. To understand why they weren’t receiving the graduate interest they desired, I took some of their key concerns, wrote them into questions and sent them to every current student of their industry I know. Every graduate I interviewed used targeted Facebook pages and groups more than they used LinkedIn to find out about upcoming graduate jobs, which has influenced the recommendations I’ve made in the strategy for social media distribution.

Direct sources as a starting point

Obviously with unlimited time and resources, it would be ideal to conduct marketing research representative of the total sample size. Just because for most clients that kind of undertaking is outside of budget constraints doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be conducted on a smaller scale.

Although qualitative research from isolated pools of the market clearly can’t be used as the only source to inform an entire strategy, what it can do is help to understand the wants, needs and priorities of the target audience, and how these factors might impact their decision-making process. Often, going to the source opens up new questions for research.


If you’d like help creating a well-researched content marketing strategy for your business, contact Lush – The Content Agency. We create tailored content marketing plans for organisations of all sizes and industries.