Denise Vu Broady -  Dan Lowden
September 2, 2022

The B2B Market Research Episode

Guest: Denise Vu Broady - Dan Lowden - CMOs, Appian - Human Security

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B2B market research. When done right, it’s a tentpole for an entire quarter’s worth of marketing activities. A resource to help SDRs transform leads into genuine opportunities. A newsworthy buzz about your brand that will catch the attention of everyone in your orbit, including customers, prospects, analysts, and talent for those highly skilled roles you’re trying to fill.

For this episode, we’ve got two world-class CMOs to share all the ins and outs of B2B market research with you—say hello again to longtime friends of the pod: Denise Vu Broady of Appian and Dan Lowden of Human and tune to learn how to get your B2B market research to do all of the above. Happy listening! 

What You’ll Learn  

  • The business value of B2B market research 
  • How to find the right agency partner 
  • B2B market research best practices 

Resources Mentioned 

Highlights 

  • [3:42] B2B market research at Appian 
  • [12:55] B2B market research at Human  
  • [24:53] CMO Huddles testimonies  
  • [27:22] Choosing a B2B market research partner  
  • [30:07] Working with a big-name vs. small-name partner 
  • [31:59] Repurposing market research reports 
  • [34:12] The case for long-form  
  • [38:52] Gated or ungated?  
  • [40:24] Budgeting for market research  
  • [43:19] CMO-certified B2B market research tips 

Highlighted Quotes  

“Content is king. Without content, you cannot run campaigns, you cannot drive thought leadership, you cannot do demand generation. You cannot even create awareness.” —@dvubroady @Appian Click To Tweet 

“The benefit of always doing market research with a third party is to gain that a different additional perspective.” —@dvubroady @Appian Click To Tweet

“It's important that you do this right, you do it well, and you do it with integrity.” —Dan Lowden @SecureWithHUMAN Click To Tweet 

“Once we have this research, we turn it into 100 different other assets that are more bite-able, more easily reviewed and used for social media and our marketing efforts and campaigns.” —Dan Lowden @SecureWithHUMAN Click To Tweet

Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 308 on YouTube 

Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Denise Vu Broady & Dan Lowden

 

Drew Neisser: Hey, it’s Drew. I’m guessing that as a podcast listener, you may also enjoy audiobooks. I know I do. Well in that case, did you know that the audio version of Renegade Marketing 12 Steps to Building Unbeatable B2B Brands, was recently ranked the number one new B2B audio book by Book Authority? Kinda cool, right? You can find Renegade Marketing on Audible, or your favorite audio book platform. And when you finish the book, do me a favor, write a review on Amazon, that would be awesome. Now speaking of podcasts, and awesome podcast, before we get into today’s show, I just want to do a quick shout out to the podcast professionals at Share Your Genius. We started working with them about four months ago to make this show even better and have been blown away by both their strategic and executional prowess. They’ve helped us to improve the show in big and little ways, so much so that our monthly downloads have doubled. If you’re thinking about starting a podcast or want to turbocharge your current show, be sure to talk to Rachel Downey at ShareYourGenius.com and tell her Drew sent you. Okay, let’s get on to today’s episode.

Narrator: Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, possibly the best weekly podcast for CMOs and everyone else looking for innovative ways to transform their brand, drive demand and just plain cut through. Proving that B2B does not mean boring to business. Here’s your host and Chief Marketing Renegade Drew Neisser

Drew Neisser: Hello, Renegade Marketers. Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite the top rated podcast for B2B CMOs and other marketing obsessed individuals. You’re about to listen to a recording of Renegade Marketers Live our live show featuring the CMOs of CMO Huddles, a community that’s sharing, caring, and daring each other to greatness every day of the week. This time we’ve got a conversation with huddlers Dan Lowden of Human Security and Denise Vu Broady of Appian about how to cut through the clutter with B2B marketing research. All right, let’s dive in. Let’s face one reality, which is there is no shortage of quality content vying for attention of your target audience. I mean, let’s face it, there’s a lot of content out there. For example, according to orbit media in 2021, there were 7.7 million new blog posts per day, on average, those were 1,269 words each, which means there are about 10 billion new words in the market every single day. That’s 10 billion, you heard me correctly. It’s almost incomprehensible. Needless to say, most of those words, like other forms of content, are being ignored by Google, which pretty much guarantees that they will be ignored by your audiences. So here’s the good news. Cutting through all of this clutter is not easy, but it’s definitely doable. And one way of doing that, and it’s worked consistently is by conducting proprietary market research and building multi channel campaigns around this research, which we’re going to be talking about today with two amazing CMOs. And with that, let’s get right to it. Let’s bring in Denise Vu Broady, CMO of Appian, and star of episode 43 of Renegade Marketers Unite and episode 14 of this show. Hello, Denise. Welcome back!

Denise Vu Broady: Hi Drew. Thanks for having me on.

Drew Neisser: You know, I’m excited. It’s always fun to talk to you. And I know you’re a big fan of content marketing, can you sort of give a little sense of your overall approach to content, the strategy and the role it plays in your marketing mix at Appian?

Denise Vu Broady: Absolutely. Look, as you’ve heard me say many times content is king. And without content, you cannot run campaigns, you cannot drive thought leadership. You cannot do demand generation, you cannot even create, you know, awareness. When I think about content, it’s combination. There’s product content that you’re filling in for the gaps of your solutions overall area. It’s more around basic research, right? To understand what the portfolio offering looks like. And then there’s the whole thought leadership piece, which can be tied beautifully, especially around market research, and combination. I’m proud of two pieces that we did last year. You are part of one of the pieces around the state of Blue Coat developers and the second piece on the disruption of IT in the business that we co sponsored with the economists. For us putting the thought leadership piece into contact with a market research angle is definitely a great way to seed with our customers as well as create awareness. Especially in our space, since, you know, mainstreaming the low code area has not really been the case until this year. If you ask the average person, what is low coat, they will not know as part of that. So we have quite a bit of work to not only educate our market, but really help the buyers also understand, what does it take to really be considered a low code platform as part of it. 

Drew Neisser: Yeah, we enjoyed working with you on that, as you described it. We actually, we’ve done a couple of studies together when you were at Workforce, and we did it at Appian. And so knowing that the way—and you talked a little bit about this, but let’s dive in a little bit more. There’s something about doing your own research that has specific value, because like, you know, it’s easy to create a blog post, right? We can all have an opinion, we can go find out content. But when you’re doing market research you’e stepping up a little bit. It’s obviously part of your mental playbook when you think about solving certain challenges that you face from a marketing standpoint. Let’s talk about that because I mean, again, workforce now Appian.

Denise Vu Broady: You can do your own market research, I think the benefit of always doing a market research with a 3rd party is to gain that a different additional perspective, right? I love aggregating survey data. And this is one of the areas that Drew we’ve worked on, as you mentioned a couple of times already between Workforce as well as Appian. And I think that when you’re trying to shift mindset, it’s also good to come in and actually have that survey data. You know, when I started to come into Appian, I was not an expert around low code. And I was just curious, on, you know, what the landscape look like? And what did people that are doing traditional coding or high code, think of acquiring skills and low code, the interesting part for us was, we knew that by 2024, there would be 38 million developers, incremental, that are needed in order to drive all of the needs around the business, as well as the workforce. And for us, when you’re developing on low code, you can accelerate your development, you know, 10 acts. So could we help bring more developers into and do what we call career shifters, right? From high code to low code. And part of the question I really wanted to understand is, how much happier are low code developers versus high code developers? Do they actually make more money? And do they feel an impact on their business? I had a little bit of a point of view around it, but I really wanted to see it with data. And so the survey angle is just such a great way to come in and, you know, see the information and have a point of view that’s actually backed up by facts and data that you’re collecting as part of the market research.

Drew Neisser: What’s so interesting is there’s a serious business growth challenge, and you mentioned it, which is—and so that this research helps you sort of begin to focus on—which is there’s going to be a lot more low code development. So we’re going to need a lot more get low coders. As a result, it would be helpful to know what low coders think about being low code. I had to laugh when you say—when we talk about low code and high code, because it’s like until there was online, there was never offline, right? 

Denise Vu Broady: Exactly!

Drew Neisser: The exact parallel to that until there was low code, there was never a high code, there was just coders. But it was a really interesting study. I mean, you learn some really interesting things that I think, in some ways surprised all of us. And it confirmed some things. But the great part of it was there were some surprises in there. Talk a little bit about what did you learn about low coders? And how that sort of enabled you to sort of tell the story that you hope to be able to tell?

Denise Vu Broady: Yeah, I was surprised as you know, we iterated this on many times as the data was coming in. I was shocked to see that 82%, for example, of the low code developers felt that they had higher earning potential. By the way, over half of them were happier than traditional low code developers. But it’s not only the data, the interesting part is—and Drew, you know this because what—as we were iterating, the market research, what came out of it was also a great theme for us to build on from a developer marketing perspective, right? We actually tagline as part of the survey, to know low code is to love low code. And actually, that came out as part of the survey. It wasn’t a hypothesis or anything that we came in as part of the research. It just came out based on the output and what the data set told us. So it gave us a beautiful theme to really come in and actually add this as part of our developer marketing strategy.

Drew Neisser: Just as you’re saying that, I mean, it is a great line, but it also reminds me as an offshoot of this, if you do this research, you try to think of what the headlines might be. But this became the headline they came out of it. And the great thing about having a headline when you come out of it is, then you have this sort of platform that you can tell the story, you sort of have the hook for the research. Because it’s one of those headlines where you go, “Oh, that’s interesting. What don’t I know?” Right? And what does love mean? And huh hadn’t really ever thought about those two words that love and code? No, really? This is where, to me the art and science of marketing, because in theory, there’s a lot of science, you’re doing research, you’re asking questions, you’re doing a smart, we’ll call it legitimate research methodology. There’s a word for that, but I’m not going to come up with it. And then you’re taking those findings. And you’re turning them into language that the people that you want to read the research will find attractive and interesting. You need a hook. I guess there’s a long way of saying it. And it’s good when one comes out.

Denise Vu Broady: Yeah. And Drew, you know, this, and you talk about this all the time, which is regardless of your doing market research, or any content that you’re creating, it’s all about what is the story tell you? What is the storyboard? How do you engage whichever persona you’re working with, right? And for us, the low code market research itself gave us really some more data set in order to not only better target developers, but think about how do we better engage with them. And as an output of this, looking at different things of restructuring our certification as part of the process? How do we come in and make it more consumable as part of this? So there’s many cascading things that happen as part of it and I think that the question always is, what is the story tell you? 

Drew Neisser: This is the part that I love about having proprietary newsworthy market research as part of your B2B playbook is if you do the research right and it’s important enough to the business, there are going to be a lot of uses for it, right? Just so people know, Appian is in the low code business, you need more low code developers. So having this research about what low code developers versus high code developers think about low code was not only important terms of recruiting low code, so now you have something for your HR and recruitment team, but also just for the people that you’re going out and you’re selling, there’s information for multiple groups. And there’s multiple ways of using the thing. But part of that gets back to research design and all sorts of other technical things. All right, I could go on. And I know you could. But let’s bring on Dan Lowden, who is the CMO of Human Security, otherwise known as Human—note the t shirt. And Dan is the star of episode 174 of Renegade Marketers Unite and episode 11 of this show. So Dan, welcome back!

Dan Lowden: Thank you Drew, and always good to have these conversations with you. And it’s great to see Denise again, we’re long term friends, bringing the group together here, love it. 

Drew Neisser: Oh, me too. And I guess we’ll all be together diving into this topic. But let’s talk about your overall approach to content marketing, and then we can—what role that plays for Human and then we can talk about research after that.

Dan Lowden: For us content marketing is huge. Human is a cybersecurity company and we serve enterprises, ad tech firms, marketers, and we protect them from sophisticated bot attacks and fraud that’s impacting the entire customer experience, right? So we create content based a lot of it based off of the research that we publish, you talked about the length of research, reports, blogs, and things like that. But we publish something that I think gives a lot of value to the customers we serve. And a lot of it is based off of what our Threat Intelligence Analyst and our data scientists folks find, discover, and it’s usually bad actors or cyber criminals doing bad things. And then we’re in a position to work with the ecosystem like Google, Facebook, the FBI, Department of Justice, to work together to take down those cyber criminal organizations to disrupt their operations, and in some cases, actually put some of those bad actors in prison based off of all the bad things that they’ve have done. So what we do is we pull together all that content, and then we publish it. And we publish it to educate the market about what is happening out there in the real world, what they should do to protect themselves. And it has a profound impact. And we create a kind of business version of research that we published that’s shorter, more succinct, more understandable. And then a very technical version of that for the technical teams. And because we take both approaches, we can really serve our customers well. And the impact that has is tremendous, you know, it’s a way for us to tell our story, how we can help customers and educate them on the problem and that there’s something that they can do about it that we can do about it together. You know, we call it collective protection. And this research supports those efforts. And that’s why it works for us very, very well.

Drew Neisser: And it’s because you’re sort of in it you have this wealth of information. There’s also, you know, this proprietary market research where, you know, you’re trying to perhaps help people see a problem that they might not be able to see. Let’s talk about it. And you had done—you did at least a study before, you know, you and I worked together on a study. But are the objectives a little bit different when you’re approaching, you know, the proprietary market research that, like we did different than a white paper or a long blog post and talk a little bit about that.

Dan Lowden: That’s the important part of this, you know, we—it was great working together with your group, we created a marketing fraud benchmarking report, where we went out and did a big survey of performance marketers and CMOs to get a feel for are they aware of these type of risks? And are they aware of the impacts of marketing fraud on all the advertising that they do? All the campaigns that they do? And we wanted to do this research to get an understanding of one, are they aware of the problem? Two, what are the pain points that they are seeing? Three, or any of them taking actions to go protect themselves and protect the dollars that they spend? We wanted to learn a lot about the current state of where they were, it ranged from people, some companies, and some people who responded to the survey had no idea this was happening, others sensed there was some things going on on their websites and things like that, that didn’t really make sense. And then there were others who were saying, yeah, there’s a big problem, and we have to go figure out how to solve it. So some of the results were amazing, you know, 43% of them responded, saying, “Hey, we’re suspicious, some bad things are happening on our website, there’s fraud happening.” And 2/3 responded that they have had experienced some type of marketing fraud impacting their customer experience. So we learned a lot. And we learned their pain points, we learned what their priorities were and where they needed help the most. And that was really valuable.

Drew Neisser: We’ve done a good job of sort of describing what the output is and how we’re doing it. I think for folks who haven’t gone through this process before, there’s a lot of little nuances in sort of tricks of the trade, if you will, I think it might be helpful to hear the process that you went through once you decide you want to do this, what do you think other CMOs and marketers should know, in order to, you know, sort of make sure that this research works and is as effective as possible?

Dan Lowden: Yeah. I mean, that’s a great question. And it’s a long process. And it’s important that you do this, right. And you do it well, and you do it with integrity. And it starts with okay, you know, what is the key theme of the research? And what are you trying to discover? What are you trying to learn? What are you trying to educate the market on, and then kind of build around that theme, a set of questions that you think you want to ask those marketers to really be able to peel back the onion and get deeper and deeper into this. And it’s hard, it is really hard. We went back and forth on those 20 some questions probably for a good 30/45 days Drew. And the way you ask the questions and the options that you give them to respond to the questions, you have to think through every single word to make sure you’re not trying to put bias into the questions, you’re not trying to lead them down the path, you want to discover what they really think. And that’s the way you’re going to get the best result out of this. And then you have to figure out, okay, who are we going to try to engage with what titles what geographies over what timeframe, you know, do you have to put some type of incentive in place to get people to respond to it, you know, once you decide on all that, and the survey goes out, that’s when the real work begins. Because then the responses start to come in, you start to learn, there’s, you know, a lot of variables that go into what you’re trying to pull in summaries you’re trying to pull from the survey results. And then, you know, try to put it into a format. And a report like we’ve published that really is meaningful to educate the market about this problem and to tell the story that these respondents told you. And again, try to do that without any bias whatsoever to really try to tell the story and have it be impactful. That’s the goal. And we’re very, very satisfied with the results of this marketing fraud benchmarking report, a lot of people responded positively to it. And we got a lot of great responses from marketers, but we also got a lot of great responses from the media on it as well, because it’s a hot topic. 

Drew Neisser: Before we get onto that, because I think that’s so interesting. There were a lot of things. But as I recall, and I wanted to put a punctuation point on it, you start with a hypothesis that you’re thinking that might be there, but you have to be careful as you describe it. It’s not simply about asking questions, so the only way they can answer it gives a result that you want, because it will be invalid. People will usually be able to see through that. But you do start with hypotheses, I think that’s an important thing. And this question, design process that you are describing, I think is really important people understand first draft, second draft, third draft, you’re working through it. But then you get product experts in there. Even when you program it, you start to get other people to get their input and take it. And you realize, no, we didn’t ask that one quite right. And I think one of the things that we did if we didn’t, you know that we always do, we actually have a research scientist behind the scenes to just make sure that our methodology is 100% legit. You know, you could skip a step, just simple things, where you’re asking people is certain things, the order that you put it in, could create a bias. So anytime that you can rotate, you should, right? Those kinds of things. And that’s what we’re really good at, I think, get helping sort of construct these things. But you know, when it comes to the absolute research scientists, you want a PhD behind the scenes, I’m just telling you, right now, folks who are thinking about this, it helps because at the end of the day, this is something that needs to have, as you said, integrity.

Dan Lowden: Exactly. And you know, we didn’t have that knowledge, right? So to work with an organization like yourself and have that all those really smart people in the background that do this all the time that really know what to look for. Those subtleties to make sure we do not try to include any bias into the results whatsoever. It was really important, we learned a ton through the process about how to do this and how to do this better. And it sets us up better for the future.

Drew Neisser: It’s just so funny that the iterations that I’m thinking about because we did the same thing, if Denise were on it would be the same conversation. This is a learning experience as you go through it, because you really think through the problem, one of the things I’m gonna sort of suggest to folks that hasn’t come up yet, but you alluded to it, this ended up generating press for you. One of the exercises that we go through together before then is to sort of think what the headlines would be.

Dan Lowden: Absolutely right. We hadn’t thought about what the responses were would be. The response was dramatically higher than we thought the percentage of companies being impacted, their campaigns being impacted was much higher than we expected, when 2/3 of marketers came back and said, “Yeah, this is a problem and we think it’s a lot bigger than we thought it was going to be. And it’s impacting the customer experience. It really kind of opened our eyes. And then what we did simultaneously, we did a consumer survey and asked a similar question, especially around the holidays, are bots impacting your holiday shopping experience, right? You know, high value, low inventory products, you’re competing against bots to buy that inventory, how does that impact you as a consumer, and we got a lot of great responses around that to say, “Hey, if bots are buying the inventory, and I can’t get what I want to buy for the holidays, I’m may not go back to that retailer, again, because I did not have a great experience.” So you combine the B2B survey we did with the B2C survey that we did. And it really, really gave us a complete picture. And when we shared that with the media, the response was amazing. 

Drew Neisser: I’m gonna add one more punctuation point one thought as you were speaking about—so if you’re in a market that is immature, in the sense that many times you are bringing, you’re solving a problem that your customers may not realize they have. There is nothing like market research to help demonstrate—and by the way, this approach, I mean, when we launched Toughbook, long time ago, we did a proprietary research study on the actual cost of notebook deaths, because at the time, there was no such thing as a ruggedized notebook category. So you do the research, and you get IDC, to quantify and say it’s $750 billion of business costs, then you can sort of say, well, so for an extra $500, buy a ruggedized laptop, for anybody who’s out in the field. This is where market research, again, has a value. And this was certainly for you, you were addressing a problem that a lot of marketers didn’t realize they had.

Dan Lowden: That’s true. So and that’s why this was important, because this is how their peers think about it, right? We asked over 100 And I think 30 some marketing leaders what their view of this was. So to get those type of results, marketers want to hear from other marketers, they want to understand, hey, what are the challenges that you’re facing? And when you make them aware of this problem, and it’s a painful problem, right? It’s a problem like, “Hey, I’m spending $1 on marketing or a million dollars on marketing, and you know, 30/40% of it is going to waste.” That’s a hard discussion to have with a marketer. But when you do this type of research, and then the results come back to say, “Hey, if you fix this problem, you’re going to get a substantially higher ROI and higher conversion rates. And you may end up becoming the hero of the company because you drove a lot more business because you took fraud out of the story.” It really helps them educate them on what they can do about it. That’s why these surveys are so important. And to have this story come from their peers. That’s very, you know, again, done with integrity. 

Drew Neisser: Very cool. We’re gonna pivot for a second and I’m going to talk about CMO Huddles. This is our presenting partner/sponsor. Launched in 2020. CMO Huddles is an invitation only subscription service that brings together an elite group of CMOs to share, care, and dare each other to greatness. One CMO described huddles as timely conversations with smart peers in a trusted environment, while another called it a cross between an expert workshop and a therapy session. Now this isn’t really fair to bring on Dan and Denise to talk about this because Dan and Denise have been involved in huddles, really, pretty much from the beginning—or before the beginning. They are on the advisory board. But since you’re here, maybe if you could share, maybe share your perspective on CMO Huddles?

Denise Vu Broady: Yeah, I just really think that there cannot be a better platform to learn from each other. I look forward to it once a month I huddle with the other CMOs and whatever topics that we’re having, whether we’re looking to enter Japan or deal with great resignation, someone is experiencing exactly the same problem. So the community, the ability to really help each other as part of the challenges that we’re going through it’s extremely beneficial. And I’m pretty sure you know, Dan will talk about this as well is I don’t think it really matters, you know, your 1st year CMO or your 10th year CMO, right? It’s—we’re all facing the same problems. 

Drew Neisser: I love it. Dan, anything to add there?

Dan Lowden: Yeah. I mean, Denise, you’re right on. And you know, the way I look at this, and I love the idea of huddle, right? Like in football, they lean in there, you know, listening intently, and what’s the next play right?—on the football field. From a CMO perspective, if you lean in, it’s a small group of CMOs that get together in these different pods. And you lean in and you learn a ton. And I’ve been doing this marketing thing for over 25 years. And I learned something new at every huddle. And it just also creates new friendships, right? Where you can go to those other CMOs and ask questions directly, have a separate one-on-one and someone that has expertise in a certain area. And it’s just super helpful. So yeah, I’m all in. And I really appreciate every one of the segments that you do Drew, it’s really helpful to me and my company. 

Drew Neisser: Thank you both for everything you do for CMO Huddles. If you’re a B2B CMO who can share, care, and dare with the best of them, visit cmohuddles.com, or hit me up on LinkedIn to see if you qualify for a guest pass. Let’s talk about—we talked a little bit about this process, you happen to work on with an agency called Renegade for some of the research that we’ve talked about. Denise, you mentioned you worked with the economist, and let’s talk about the importance of having an outside partner for a second on this because I know you know, in theory, I mean, you guys could do this on your own, you’re smart, you’ve done this, you know enough in your careers. What are the advantages of doing this, and we’re going to break partners down there are people that can help feel the study, but there are people who can help you craft the study.

Denise Vu Broady: Yeah, as you said Drew, it’s all about the packaging, right? And at the end, what you also have to look at is what are you trying to accomplish? So for us, and using the economist, we also wanted to get to higher C-level interviews as part of the output and get it in segmented out into more global environments, right? So Germany, UK and get more of a global reach as part of it. And I felt that the other survey channel that we did with you was really to get to more low code developers. So it’s accessing the right audience as well. And as Dan mentioned, right? Part of it is the benefit is depending on who you’re co-branding and sponsoring the market research with, you also have the opportunity to then get picked up by media as part of the process. So we knew that we’re putting together a little bit of an analysis of what is the real relationship between IT and the business? Is IT in the hot seat? In order to validate something like that we knew that we needed a larger sponsorship, you know, with somebody like the economist, and by the way, like very similar to Dan, that got picked up by Forbes on its release. And so I think sometimes when we look at market research, we go, “Oh we put it up behind our landing page, we look at the number of downloads, we try to see if it ties to an attribution for demand gen.” But sometimes just the market awareness and getting picked up by media, it said nothing itself. 

Drew Neisser: Yeah, there’s a couple of things I want to unpack there. And then I never want to use the word unpack again. The Economist you partnering with a media company. First of all, it’s probably smart to call it a sponsorship, because it is. The advantage is they bring tremendous credibility and they bring an audience that they can pull, they can go out and find it because you may not realize depending on the study that you’re doing, how hard it is to reach the people that you want to reach. With the economists calling and them doing it you get reach and you get credibility, and that is something that’s hard to buy when you do an independent study. But in both cases, you can get this PR value, this is extended PR value. And so Dan, in the study that we did together, obviously, you didn’t partner with an economist because you know, as much as Renegade is a wonderful little company, we are not a globally known thought leader.

Dan Lowden: One to your point, you really can’t do this yourself, right? You can’t go do this survey and publish it. It doesn’t have any credibility. So you have to go work with a respected 3rd party. And I believe Renegade is a respected 3rd party, and we put your logo on this benchmarking report to make sure people knew that, hey, we didn’t come up with this ourselves. This is real, right? I think that’s important when you publish this type of research that it’s not just coming from you, we felt it would be great to have Renegade and partner with Renegade you did to work with us. And we then shared this with our marketing audience and the response was fantastic. But we’ve done other primary research, we did one with an analyst firm like ESG, we’ve done some with Forrester, and that’s a different type of respected 3rd party. And then we just did another cybersecurity, one with dark reading, right, a very well respected publication in the cybersecurity space. We do multiple surveys and published multiple reports to try to get the word out to the various customers that we serve. And having that 3rd party neutrality and to make sure that it’s legitimate is really, really, really important. That other piece of this, which I’m sure we’re going to get to is, once we have this research, then we turn it into 100 different other assets that are more vital, more easily reviewed, and use for social media and our marketing efforts and campaigns. So this is a basis of as Denise brought up earlier on a major campaign to go educate the market and you do this research, you can replicate it 100 different ways. And it really gives you a lot of value that way, when you break it out and share it in that format.

Drew Neisser: I do want to get to that. But before we do it as I was thinking about you’re talking about partners, I’m thinking economist and Forester. One of the advantages of say, working with a smaller, less famous place is that you have a lot more input. I’m curious, how does it work, when you have an Economist or a Forester in terms of your control of the research?

Dan Lowden: I’ll give my view of working with the analyst firm, you’re right, they have to ensure it is legitimate. And that’s a great thing. They’ve done these over and over again, they know the audience, they gave us a perspective that we really didn’t think about going into it. So we learned a lot during the process. And I think it was really helpful. I don’t really think it took anything away from what we were trying to understand and learn. I think it made it better, to be perfectly honest. To have those type of experts who’ve done this many, many times over and over again, was really, really helpful to us. 

Drew Neisser: Yeah, and look, let’s face it, I mean, those guys do this for a living. They know the potential outcome and the business value, not only of the information that they’re providing, but the logo that they’re providing, along with it, right, the credibility. Denise, any—we talked about the Economist, but in terms of their shaping the study and in a sense, because the way you do this study can really define what you learn.

Denise Vu Broady: Absolutely. And I think to Dan’s point, they do lend the expertise as part of this, right? You do have a little bit less flexibility, because sometimes they want the questions to be a certain way. And you have to kind of compromise in the configuration of the questions, though, you know, always the access to the raw data is something that we use across all the markets as part of it.

Drew Neisser: Very cool. Okay. We’re at the moment where we ask, What would Ben Franklin say? Just a little trivia fact, when Ben died in 1790, he owned over 4000 books, it was the largest library in North America. He was one who definitely appreciated learning and knowledge and study. So he would say about this, “Knowledge and learning is to be cultivated and ignorance dissipated.” And there you have it. Well, thank you, Ben, for that. So Dan, you started to talk about this, and I want to get at this, which is, you know, there’s a lot of belief out there. And I’ve heard this over and over again, from certain pundits that nobody reads long documents anymore. Nobody, you know, wants white papers anymore. And I know it is categorically untrue. Because you know, in the beginning of the pandemic, we put a 15,000 word blog post on our website, and that thing is still getting hundreds of visits a day and people are spending 4-5 minutes now. It really takes 7 minutes to read the whole thing so they’re not finished, but 4 minutes is a long time in internet time. Dan, you talked about being able to slice and dice this thing. You have the long report talk a little bit specifically about some of the ways that you find the bite-size units and how you how you use these longer reports. 

Dan Lowden: It’s the key learnings that come from it, right? And then if you can share that in a newsletter, share that in a social media post, share that in an infographic, or actually do a webinar about, you know, all the things you learned during the survey that—and the results that were taken. Break it up 100 different ways. And you know, the consumer and, you know, the business leader is in control. They want to get access to learn about your company and your solution, the way they want to get access to that data. And it could be a long report that they want to read and bring back to the team. Or it could be a bite-sized one pager that they get a quick summary of and go, “Wow, this is really impactful to me, this can really help me and my team.” You have to deliver it in so many different ways that the customer who you’re trying to serve, you make it easy for them to consume it the way they want to consume it. And since there’s so many different options today, and they’re in control, when they come to your website, you want to offer it to them in the way that makes the most sense to them. And that’s why breaking it up into blog posts and other things that I mentioned that make it easy for them to get to the information as quickly as they can really help them along their customer journey. That’s where you prove value, I’d make sure everything that we produce has value to the customer. And that helps them do their job better, that helps them protect their company, that helps them better in their career. And when we always look at it that way, everything we produce has to have meaning. That’s why we’re really considered of how we go publish all these different aspects. 

Drew Neisser: It’s funny, we didn’t actually design the report. But I do remember a research study that we did somebody else not too long ago, we created an infographic of sort of the highlights of the thing. And that’s just one example of a way of getting the information that was particularly good for the press, but also very good for social sharing, you just pull some of the numbers and tell some of the story to get the headlines out there. Denise in terms of slicing and dicing I know that the one study, the low code study just really came out recently. But what about you in terms of extending the value of this and of the short form versions?

Denise Vu Broady: Yeah, I absolutely agree with Dan, right. It’s all about the audience or the persona. Typically, we see on the business side, it needs to be shorter, as part of it, the more technical IT, folks will read the longer form so you want multiple options. And then I think there’s another interesting component, which is the markets that you’re marketing into, like physical markets. You know, we find that in Europe, as well as in Australia, people love to read long forms. One of the best prospects we had last year was in Australia. And by the way, the first thing they downloaded was a white paper, it was our longest piece of content. And by the way, it was an IT technical person downloading it. And it took us 14 days from the time they came to our web to when it was actually converted to a qualified lead. So I think that it’s really important that as Dan mentioned, to bite size, to think about the personas that you have. And then as you’re building the content, you want to be able to slice it based on the persona. And think about the overall journey. As part of it. You know, if it’s a longer form, maybe it’s part of the research that’s top of the funnel. If it’s a bite size or mug, you may pull a case study out of your white paper that could be used later on. As you’re further down the funnel is part of the overall process. So I think that you can not get away with just hey, you print the you know, market research once and you’re done. You have to think about the size, you have to think about the persona, and then you have to think about the markets that you’re serving. 

Drew Neisser: And one quick question for both of you. Let’s imagine there is a study, the official study itself gated or ungated?

Denise Vu Broady: It depends, like for us blocks are not worth the gating, because it’s a short form, but if you’re looking at—

Drew Neisser: The least your study in your mind is worth gating? 

Denise Vu Broady: Yeah, completely and long form as part of it. Yes, 

Drew Neisser: Dan?

Dan Lowden: We’ve made the choice to not gate anything. I don’t know if that’s the right answer. But we just want to give and educate the market as much as we can. So we want to get it in the hands of as many people as we can. And that’s been the approach and we’ll continue to evaluate it. But Denise, you know, you’re making a great point, you know, it’s something that we’ll continue to think about. 

Drew Neisser: I’d love to see us side by side, because my opinion is don’t gate a research study. And the reason is, if the value is there, they’ll circle back. But what you do when you gate it is you reduce the number of downloads because it’s annoying. 

Denise Vu Broady: Yeah, and by the way, you can think about also in two separate ways, right? Like when I look at the experience of somebody coming potentially inbound onto a web app, most likely someone that is new to Appian. So typically there is a data structure as part of the overall process. Now if they’re part of our Community and they’re already logged into our community. All of our thought leadership is also replicated within the community, not gated. So I think that you need to really think about the multiple channels that you have think holistically about your entire site system or sitemap, and then the variations of the content. And then where will people go given their existing customer versus prospect? 

Drew Neisser: One of the things we’d like to do on the show is to give people guidelines, we’ve talked a lot about the importance of getting the survey right, of testing it, massaging it, we talked about a 3rd party partner to help both validate the methodology, but also bring credibility. What we haven’t talked about his cost at all. And again, without speaking to any specific and giving away anything proprietary, because we’ve talked about high end Economist or Forrester study and Analysts study, if I am thinking about doing a market research study, can you give any parameters for them from a budgeting standpoint, to think about what something like this will cost? Obviously, you got to market the marketing and everything, but just doing the study anything, Dan?

Dan Lowden: I take a very simplistic view is, if this even brings in one new customer, it more than pays itself multiple, multiple, multiple, multiple times, right? If you’re trying to go educate the market, this to me is one of the best ways to go do it and educate yourself as a company. And as a marketer, and as a CMO. This is one of the best investments you can make.

Drew Neisser: I liked the answer, but I wasn’t exactly the answer that I was looking for. And I don’t want to put you on the spot. And Denise, I don’t know if you could provide a budget range?

Denise Vu Broady: Sure. So look, I think, you know, we have the experience of doing something with Pollfish, right? Where we actually looked at the number of folks that would respond on a survey, depending on if you’re looking at 500 versus about 700 respondents, you could get through leveraging like a Pollfish to do this, and 50/75K. So that could be part of the baseline budget. If you’re gonna go to a sponsorship with an economist, HBR, Oxford Economics. And again, it depends on the number of questions and length, but at minimum, you’re looking at least 200k. 

Drew Neisser: And that’s really helpful. And I’m going to break it down a little bit more. So just for folks understand. So there are these panel companies like a Pollfish, we’ve also worked with Propeller Insights, Survey Monkey has panels that are pretty helpful in reaching consumers, these folks will, you can set up the survey on their platform, they will take care of the job of reaching out in getting the people and paying them and also for the range of those end up anywhere from I’m going to say $100 an individual to $500, depending on how difficult it is. And so again, you start to multiply that by the number of people that you’re working with. That’s part one, that’s just getting to the people. Then the next part to think about the cost is the cost of actually designing the study itself. And that’s—you’re going to need a 3rd party to help you with that. And then there is the marketing of this. So you can feel the study on Propeller Fish for gosh, was $10,000. That’s just the cost of Propeller Fish, you got to design the study, you got to write up the report. And I just wanted to make sure that you had parameters on that as you’re thinking about a study like that, but the value, again, this is why you need to slice and dice it. Alright, we’re getting towards the end here—because I’ve been talking too much. But Denise final words of wisdom for CMOs thinking about doing market research, and we’re going to call it this newsworthy buzzworthy market research.

Denise Vu Broady: As you mentioned, Drew and as Dan iterated, it is a must within your B2B marketing mix. The question always is what are you trying to prove? Or you know, what is your hypothesis a start. And then you want to be able to prove something as part of the market research. And then how do you measure success is always easy to do with market research. But is the goal to drive demand gen is the goal to drive awareness. Having that as part of the setup, and really thinking about the impact of the market research will then enable you to really look at it and then figure out how to get to the various personas, long form, short form. And all of the components that is needed. As you think about the market research, what we really look at is how does it fit into our overall integrated plan? Could we take the results of the market research and put it into a keynote, for example, with our CEO at our user group? Could we come in and pass it along to you know, some of our strategic customers for Account Based Marketing. There’s a lot of things to think about, but you need to think about it as an integrated approach, not just as, “Oh, I’m going to go out and do a market research piece and you know, whether it’s an analyst or 3rd party like the Economist or even with a survey process, and then that’s a checkmark.” And that—nothing happens with that, right? It has to be part of an overall integrated plan.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, the word that I kept thinking about whether you’re talking was tent poll, these studies can be tent poles for a massive at least 4 quarters worth of marketing campaign. Okay, Dan, anything else, last licks?

Dan Lowden: I would just say what Denise said is absolutely right on, spot on. The only thing I would add is, don’t rush into this, like think it through, come up with a plan. Give yourself time to reiterate and you know, iterate and keep going through the different questions with the experts. So you can really get this as right as possible. It’ll always come back and say, “Ah, I wish I would have asked this or wish have asked that.” And if you rush it, you’re definitely going to have that issue multiple times. So take your time with it. Do it right. Find the right partner, invest in it in the right way, but build a plan around it like you said a tent pole so that you can go with leverage it 100 different ways.

Drew Neisser: Love it. All right. Well, thank you both, Denise and Dan, you’re great sports. Thank you for the audience for staying with us. To hear more conversations like this one, and submit your own questions while we’re live. Join us on the next Renegade Marketers Live. We stream to my LinkedIn, that’s Drew Neisser, every other week.

Show Credits

Renegade Marketers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser, hey that’s me! Audio production and show notes are by our friends at Share Your Genius. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and intro voiceovers Linda Cornelius. To find all the transcripts of all episodes suggest future guests or learn more about my new book and the savviest B2B marketing boutique in New York City. Visit renegade.com. I’m your host, Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those renegade thinking caps on and strong!

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