A lot of market researchers don’t like to think of themselves as marketers, but in many ways they are marketers.
Both market researchers and marketers have something they want people to do. They both need to find good prospects and create a relationship with people so that they will be more likely to take the desired course of action.
Marketers need to find leads, people who, with some relationship-building, have some reasonable likelihood of buying their company’s product or service.
But market researchers are also marketers in another sense. They need to find people and develop a relationship with them such that they will participate in a thoughtful way in market research studies.
Smart market researchers pay attention to developments in the world of marketing and apply them to their craft.
The biggest revolution in the marketing world in recent years has been the rise of inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is the idea that marketers should attract, nurture and convert leads into customers by providing useful content. It is distinct from outbound marketing, which is the more traditional approach of aggressively pushing a sales message at prospective customers.
Inbound marketing uses methods like blogs, podcasts, video, ebooks, whitepapers, permission email marketing, search engine optimization and social media. Outbound marketing uses methods like cold calling, radio and television ads, press releases, flyers, spam and telemarketing.
The stages of inbound marketing are:
- Attract – make it easy for people to find your helpful content
- Convert – exchange useful content for an email address and contact information
- Nurture – develop a relationship over time to build trust
- Sell – provide opportunities for leads who are ready to take the desired action (usually a purchase)
- Analyze – constantly evaluate and adjust, then repeat the cycle
Smart market researchers incorporate inbound marketing principles and techniques to respondent recruitment and engagement because convincing people to participate can sometimes be no small task. Participating in market research studies places a level of burden on the respondent.
- Questionnaires can be long, repetitive and boring
- Some research tasks such as diary studies can last weeks or longer
- Answering some types of questions can require significant mental energy
- Questions can be of a personal nature
There is a burden of participation even when the above challenges do not exist in a research study.
As a market researcher, you would do well to understand and incorporate the principles of inbound marketing as you plan to get respondents engaged in your research studies.