What the Data Says About the Most Important Part of Running Your Business
Arthur Nielsen, the founder of research firm ACNielsen, is said to have once remarked “The price of light is less than the cost of darkness.” Few disciplines have integrated this idea in leveraging data and insight to run their businesses to the degree marketers have.
In recently joining NAPCO Media as the Director of Research, (NAPCO Media is the parent company of Target Marketing) I was reminded of this truism as I worked with Target Marketing’s editorial team to design an audience study. We set out to understand the topics you want to know more about, the top challenges you face, and top opportunities you perceive in the market. The editorial team will use the resulting insight to guide their ongoing editorial and research calendar and ensure the content and insight they are producing is in sync with what you want to see.
We sent the survey to the Target Marketing audience and received 295 responses from marketers across industries and company sizes. Although the primary objective of the study is to help guide our editorial agenda, we’d also like to share a selection of data to give you a view into the issues that are top of mind for your marketing colleagues.
The Topics Marketers Want to Know More About
First, we asked Marketers to consider their current level of insight into the industry and think about the marketing topics they want to know more about. Respondents were asked to identify the top five topics for which they’d be most interested in consuming research.
Marketer’s top three responses about the subjects they want to know more about reveals insight into their mindset when it comes to how they run their businesses. The top response, social media, highlights a focus of marketers on a channel that is hot and constantly evolving, yet marketers still struggle to identify the ROI for the channel and thus want insight and research.
The second response, email marketing, reveals an (understandable) focus on bottom line revenue, as email marketing has consistently ranked as the top ROI channel for marketers in industry studies.
The third, content marketing, reveals marketers’ understanding that ongoing communication with their audience with content relevant to the stage in the buying journey they are in drives them through the buying funnel and is the new buying paradigm in a connected world. Content marketing has become the engine that enables the online buying process and is therefore top of mind for marketers.
Top Opportunities for Marketers
In the second question on the survey, we asked marketers to identify the top five opportunities to grow their business.
Here’s where, if I’m not careful, I can be accused of confirmation bias — seeing the things I already believe in as a researcher — but I swear I didn’t engineer it this way.
The top two responses are:
- Understanding audience behavior/needs and wants
- Developing and distributing the right content
These responses tell us that marketers must be able to get into their customers heads to understand what they want and how they are behaving. Then develop the materials that communicate to their customer that they get their needs and have a product or service that can meet said needs.
In other words, marketers are signaling that it is research and insight that drive the most significant growth opportunities in their business. Further, it is a deep understanding of their audiences needs and wants and the ability to convey that they need look no further to have their needs met that enables growth into the future and beyond.
Data and Insight Guide Growth
The results end up falling ‘my way’ as a researcher, but it makes it no less of a truism that it is data and insight that guides your business as a marketer. The degree to which you use data and insight as a foundation for your business can have far reaching implications; the arrow can only fly as straight and true as it is aimed.
The truth is, when it comes to running your business, the price of light really is less than the cost of darkness.
Contact me here to discuss how NAPCO Research can help you with your data and research needs.
NAPCO Research leverages Target Marketing’s engaged audience, internal subject matter experts and in-house research experts to provide clients with deep research and insight for decision-making or thought leadership
Nathan Safran is Vice President, Research for NAPCO Media, the parent company of Total Retail. Nathan is a former Forrester Research Analyst with deep experience designing custom research solutions that solve client business problems.
Nathan works with the subject matter experts across NAPCO’s brands to design research solutions that leverage NAPCO’s engage audiences and provides deep insight. Nathan is a frequent speaker at industry events and his research has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and Fortune Magazine.