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Primary Research Reports That Build Brand Authority: 4 Great Examples


Marketers are continually searching for creative ways to reach their customers and earn their trust. While there are many types of content you can create to do this, conducting original market research and publishing it in well-organized, visually appealing reports can be a highly effective tactic to add to your content marketing arsenal.

Offering your audience new and valuable findings, rather than recycling old information, helps position your company as a leader in your industry. This elevates the authority of your brand and distinguishes you from the competition.

Here, we highlight four companies that have created great primary research reports that help strengthen the influence and reputation of their brands.

1. “B2B Content Marketing 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends” by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs

Content Marketing Institute (CMI) works to advance the practice of content marketing by providing related advice, insights, information and news. To support their mission, the company teamed with MarketingProfs and surveyed 1,217 B2B marketers to assess current content marketing trends and challenges.

The results, which are reported in B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends, help marketers assess whether their current content marketing practices are ahead of or behind the curve. Findings include the most commonly outsourced content marketing functions and the percentage of marketing budget spent on content marketing.

For example, the survey found that 66 percent of B2B marketers who have a documented content strategy consider themselves effective at content marketing, whereas 84 percent of marketers who have no documented strategy feel they’re ineffective. This data underlines the importance of creating a documented content strategy to increase content marketing effectiveness.

The 23-page report organizes data by highlighting a key insight at the top of the page with a corresponding graphic and bulleted list below that explains the data. This format is used throughout the presentation.

Source: CMI and MarketingProfs’ “B2B Content Marketing 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends”

By publishing useful, implementable findings that support the mission of their organization, CMI asserts their brand authority and positions themselves as a leader in content marketing research and strategy. This report also perfectly aligns with MarketingProfs’ tagline: “Smart thinking … pass it on.”

Upon the writing of this post, this report has been linked to on 129 different domains and has over 26,000 Slideshare views. The CMI blog post promoting it has over 1,500 social shares, including 1,000+ from Twitter, 499 from LinkedIn and 199 from Facebook. Data from the report was also cited in an article published on Forbes.

2. “2013 Search Engine Ranking Factors Survey” by Moz

Since 2004, Moz has been an authoritative, go-to resource for marketers looking to optimize their websites and content for search engines such as Google. Their insights are highly valued, and Moz doesn’t disappoint.

To determine the factors that impact a website’s search engine ranking, Moz surveyed over 120 search marketers to collect their opinions on over 80 search engine ranking factors. The analysis uncovered the characteristics that are the most and least likely to contribute to ranking a page highly in search engine results.

One factor Moz highlighted in their report is page level keyword usage. This measures the importance of using relevant keywords in certain parts of the HTML code of a Web page, such as header and title tag. Moz found a high correlation between a page that ranks highly and having a relevant keyword in the title tag. The importance of other relevant features in this category are shown in the graph below.

Source: Moz’s “2013 Search Engine Ranking Factors Survey”

The survey data is extensive, but Moz makes it easy to sort the information. The correlation data graph lets you filter the data to see how certain factors correlate across all 10 categories, a single category, or any combination of categories. In the chart below, you can see how the ranking factors correlate to page level social signals (e.g., the number of Tweets and Facebook “Likes” a page has received) and page level anchor text categories.

Source: Moz’s “2013 Search Engine Ranking Factors Survey”

To further refine the data, Moz created survey data summaries on this page that include select comments from survey respondents on the data charts for each factor. If you prefer to analyze the data yourself, the full survey results and raw data is available to download here.

The depth and usefulness of this data helps solidify Moz’s reputation as one of the preeminent SEO resources on the web for content marketers, which strengthens their brand. The reach of the report only underscores this—the survey results URL has been linked to 693 times on 199 different domains, has 35 Tweets, 770 Facebook “Likes,” 401 LinkedIn shares and over 2,000 Google +1’s.

3. “2013 Digital Marketing Optimization Survey Results” by Adobe

Adobe designs tools to help marketers create, deploy, measure and optimize digital content. With a hand in every part of the process, it’s essential for the company to stand out as a leader in digital marketing solutions. Analyzing data collected from their primary research is one method they use to accomplish this.

Adobe’s report, 2013 Digital Marketing Optimization Survey Results, contains insights from the responses of 1,858 digital marketers across North America, Europe and Asia. It identifies the fundamental areas where digital marketers need to excel for success—mobile, social, personalization and customer experience—and summarizes the data with informative graphs and narrative explanations.

A key finding is that there is a strong correlation between conversion rates and the percentage of marketing budget spent on optimization. This graph from page one of the report shows that only 3 percent of companies spend more than 25 percent of their marketing budget on optimization.

Source: Adobe’s “2013 Digital Marketing Optimization Survey Results”

The table below shows that, of the companies who spend more than 25 percent of their marketing budget on optimization, 21 percent have website conversion rates of 9 percent and above, compared to just 8 percent of companies that spend 25 percent or less on optimization.

Source: Adobe’s “2013 Digital Marketing Optimization Survey Results”

The report concludes with a list of takeaways, the chief one being that although testing is the basis for an effective optimization strategy, 49 percent of companies don’t make it a priority. Because so few have incorporated testing into their decision-making, there are many opportunities for improvement in this area.

The impact of Adobe’s survey report is substantial. According to a LinkedIn case study, after viewing the report, marketing decision makers are “50 percent more likely to agree that Adobe is shaping the future of digital marketing.” This is a clear indication that publishing relevant, high-quality research content significantly strengthened the trustworthiness and value of their brand.

4. “2013 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study” by Silverpop

Silverpop enables its clients to personalize how they engage with customers through a digital marketing platform that unifies marketing automation, email, mobile and social. As they continue to earn accolades and industry awards, Silverpop’s expert opinions and analysis have become trusted by the community they serve.

The depth of their 2013 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study demonstrates their commitment to creating primary research their clients can put to use. Silverpop analyzed the open rates, click-through rates, message sizes and list churn metrics of all email messages sent by 2,787 brands in 40 countries.

Unlike most benchmarks that only calculate averages and focus on a single region, Silverpop’s benchmarks include mean, median and quartile stats by region and industry. The quartile stats include both a “top quartile” and “bottom quartile” stat. The former is calculated by taking the median of all data above the overall median, while the latter is the median of all data that falls below the overall median.

This allows marketers to see how well they’re performing not just compared to the mean and median data points, but where they stand in relation to the strongest and weakest performers in their industry.

The chart below, for example, shows that the median click-to-open rate (CTOR) across all industries is 13.5 percent, with the top quartile reporting nearly double that, at 25.6 percent. The healthcare industry’s top quartile is the highest performer across all industries, with a 33 percent CTOR, while the bottom quartile of the consumer products industry sees a CTOR of only 4.3 percent.

Source: Silverpop’s “2013 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study”

By going beyond simple averages, Silverpop’s range of statistics provides marketers with more precise benchmarks to measure the success of their email marketing efforts. To further help marketers make sense of this data, the report also includes a section of text that highlights key observations and takeaways from each chart.

Source: Silverpop’s “2013 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study”

Silverpop makes email marketing software, so publishing a detailed benchmark study on open raters and other key metrics in different industries across the world is a clear indication of how closely they’re in tune with marketers’ email needs. This helps reinforce the authority of their brand and builds trust among their customers.

To date, the report has been linked to 206 times on 48 different domains, and the related blog post has over 50 shares.

Publishing exclusive findings from your primary research provide your audience with practical information, build customer trust and bolster your brand’s influence and reputation. Have you realized positive results thanks to creating a market research report? Share your experience in the comments below!

Sources: Majestic SEO for backlinks and referring domains statistics.

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Janna Finch

About the Author

Janna Finch joined Software Advice in 2013 after 12 years of managing a boutique web development agency she founded with her husband. She attended the University of Colorado - Denver, and has a strong background in web usability, information architecture and translating techspeak into language everyone can understand.

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