How to Collect Industry Research to Use for PR
We’ve all researched at one time or another. Perhaps it was for a class in school or the job we held, or maybe it was for our personal development. Whatever the reason, the goal was to find information that would answer questions or help us in some way. While research is carried out in various settings for many different reasons, one important area of research public relations. Successful PR is all about managing the spread of information between a company or individual and the public and creating an acceptable image of the organisation. This means that PR professionals need to understand what the public considers to be an acceptable image. Often, this is done through industry research. In this article, we explore how to collect industry research to use for PR.
How to Collect Industry Research
There are two main types of research: Primary and Secondary. Below, we explore them both in more detail.
The objective of primary research is to collect data from analysing the effectiveness of current practices and current sales. Primary research also looks into the competitor’s plans, giving you helpful information about your competition.
Primary research can be carried out in several ways including telephone and face-to-face interviews, online and mail surveys, online and mail questionnaires and focus groups. In focus groups, a sampling of potential customers or clients is gathered and their direct feedback is collected. In this type of research, you may ask the group what factors they consider when purchasing your product or service, what they like or dislike about current products or services on the market, what areas they would suggest for improvement and what they believe the appropriate price is for a product or service.
The objective of secondary research is to analyse data that has already been published. This type of research can identify competitors, identify target segments and establish benchmarks. Typically, your segments are the people who fall into your target audience; for instance, people who exhibit particular behavioural patterns, fall into a predetermined age group, or who live a certain lifestyle.
For your business to succeed, you must understand its products and services, its customers and the market in general. Depending on your industry, competition can be fierce. With this in mind, failing to conduct research may give your competitors an advantage over you.
There are two main areas of data collection: quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative methods use mathematical analysis and require a large sample size to be effective. The results of this research highlight statistically significant differences. If you have a website, your web analytics is a great place to find quantitative data. This information can establish several things, including how long visitors are staying on your site, where your leads are coming from and from which page they are leaving.
Qualitative methods help you to establish and fine-tune your qualitative research methods. They can help to determine problems in your business and often use interview methods to learn about clients’ values, opinions and beliefs. Typically, qualitative research only requires a small sample size.
It may be tempting to take shortcuts when it comes to research – particularly if you’re a new business owner strapped for money and time. However, this can later backfire so should be avoided. Below, we explore some of the mistakes to avoid.
One of the biggest mistakes is using only secondary research. Relying on the work of others fails to give you the whole picture. While it can be a great place to start, the information acquired through secondary research can be outdated and inaccurate. Secondary research may also miss out factors that are relevant to your business. For best results, always use a combination of primary and secondary research.
Another mistake is only using web resources. When using search engines to gather information, you will only find data that’s available to everyone. Thankfully, it’s possible to perform deeper searchers without breaking the bank. One option is to use the resources at your local library or small business centre.
The final mistake is only surveying people that you know. Sometimes, business owners interview only family, friends and close colleagues when conducting research. While this is convenient, friends and family are not the best survey subjects. To get the most accurate data, you need to talk to real clients about their wants, needs and expectations. Not biased friends and family who just want the best for you!
How to Use Industry Research for PR
So, now we know how to collect industry research, but how do we use it for PR? Below, we explore this in detail.
Measure Changing Attitudes
Industry research can be used to measure attitudes. For instance, you may gather intelligence on how customers feel about a brand and its logo before the company applies the logo to business collateral. Industry research will measure attitudes towards the logo and show what customers currently think about the brand. This can then be revisited later down the line to measure the changing perceptions of the market. For best results, the study should be revisited every six to twelve months or at regular intervals.
Help to Launch Products and Services
Researching industry bodies and influencers will allow you to gather a picture of how the market is moving. This information can then be considered before developing or launching a new product or service. With this industry research, the type of product you release and its timing will be more targeted.
Compare the Competition
Industry research can show you how you rate against your competitors. This can be done by researching a range of customers and end-users of your products or services. This research will provide valuable data when it comes to marketing your products and help you to position them as being unique to similar products on the market.
Keep Track of Trends
Industry research is a great way to keep track of trends in your industry. To conduct qualitative research, use a focus group of 10 clients and industry experts. Note their opinions on current and futures trends to identify gaps in the market and gain valuable insight into purchasing trends. This may also bring any dangers or market issues to your attention to help with decision making in the future.
So, there you have it – how to collect industry research to use for PR. Research is vital for business success, so take note of the tips above to stay ahead of your competition.