Ascend2 was founded with a laser-focus mission of providing organizations with actionable research at an affordable price. Nine years later, that is still what we do (and we love it). We knew from testing that original research is excellent at building a brand, generating demand, and converting that demand to sales.
But most companies don’t have the internal resources to perform a high-quality original research study. How do you target the desired audience to take your survey? What questions do you ask? How do you validate the data? How many participants do you need to make it valid and of interest to the media? How do you take the data and craft an interesting story for your target audience? And then you have to write the report, design it, and distribute it. The to-list is long and it can be expensive.
So Ascend2 built an original research methodology that delivers actionable research at an affordable price. We started with the marketing industry but in recent years have expanded our methodology for all industries. This year we performed research in the following areas: marketing, sales, customer service, small business, food processing, human resources, IT/data, freight/transportation, dealerships, video communications, youth sports, and more.
It has been a busy year at Ascend2 as we worked with our partners to publish more than 700 research charts, analyzed 3,000+ data sets, and had 14,000+ individuals participate in our research studies.
This article looks at some of the findings from our non-marketing studies, but for insight into what we learned about the marketing industry, here is an article on 10 findings that will impact you in the next year.
Here are 8 top findings across various industries:
Supply chain issues are the top challenge in the food processing industry.
Source: Cablevey Conveyors, The State of Conveying. By a wide margin, food processing professionals identified supply chain issues (53%) as the primary challenge facing the food processing industry. Also among the top three challenges is product shortages (39%), closely related to supply chain issues.
Meetings: Too many. Too long. Poorly timed. Lacking focus.
Source: Time is Ltd., The Evolving Workforce & HR Identity Crisis. Meeting culture – the length, frequency, and outcomes of meetings – has been a considerable challenge for organizations as they balance in-person and remote workforces. But what makes meetings so unproductive? According to human resource professionals, there are too many meetings, and they are too long, poorly timed, and lack agendas. Ineffective meetings are killing engagement and productivity, and it’s an eminently-fixable set of problems.
Businesses are leveraging data collaboration and data clean rooms show strong early adoption.
Source Habu, The State of Data Collaboration Report. This study surveyed data professionals and leaders responsible for how their organizations use data and data technologies. While the data collaboration industry is still maturing and existing approaches continue to evolve, businesses are adopting data collaboration solutions to uncover new insights and provide their teams with better analytics. Over two-thirds of respondents (68%) indicated that their company had collaborated with another company in the last twelve months to share data or insights. Additionally, respondents identified that the most common use case for data collaboration in analytics and insights, followed by securing access to data, and then enriching data.
Small businesses power our lifestyles.
Source: Constant Contact, What the World Would Look Like Without Small Business. This study gathered the input of 2,664 individuals to find out how small businesses impact their lives. Without SMBs, Americans told us their daily routines would take longer. There are even some small businesses that could be considered critical to daily living. Overall, doctor’s offices, restaurants, auto shops/dealerships, bakery/coffee shops, and convenience stores are considered the most essential according to consumers who rank them at the top of the list when it comes to businesses they absolutely cannot live without. When we look even deeper, there are substantial differences.
Understanding the top challenges of the freight brokering industry.
Source: Denim, Freight Broker Pulse Report. What do freight brokers feel are the greatest barriers to the success of their business? Fluctuations in gas prices continue to be a top challenge for nearly two-thirds (63%) of those surveyed. Driver shortages are also impacting nearly half (48%) of brokers right now. These economic and labor-related concerns are very real in the freight industry and can mean missed opportunities for revenue for brokers who lack the financial agility required to maintain exceptional service to both carriers and shippers.
What motivates the final purchase of a big-ticket outdoor item (RV, Boat, ATV, snowmobile, motorcycle, etc.)?
Source: Huebner Marketing, Brand and Dealer Relationship Trends. Retailers are the frontlines sales channels that connect brands to the end customer. They offer unique insight into what motivates a purchase. By understanding what the end customer is looking for, brands can better provide dealers with the tools needed to make the sale. While price is at the top of the list of factors that contribute most to a purchase decision, according to nearly one-third (30%) of retailers, the reputation of a brand is also a major deciding factor and is as important as the customer support they receive and the features of the product they are purchasing.
Video improves the employee experience.
Source: Brightcove, Using Video to improve the Employee Experience. Four out of five (83%) employees say that encountering additional video content at work would improve their overall employee experience. Employees want video, and the opportunity to answer the wants and needs of employees can no longer afford to be missed. Those with the best employee experience encounter significantly more video at work. The “Employee Experience Excellence” group is more likely to work for organizations that use video regularly in the following situations:
In what ways are youth sports clubs using technology and how does it impact satisfaction?
Source: Playmetrics, The State of Youth Sports Clubs & Parent Expectations. Youth sports parents (soccer, lacrosse, ice hockey, volleyball, etc.) are most commonly asked to use club software or apps for player registration and membership fee payments. Still, over one-third (36%) of parents have not used club management software to register a child and/or pay their membership fees. This is an enormous missed opportunity for clubs that are still utilizing forms, paper, email, checks, and similar dated systems.
Why is it a missed opportunity? The parents who are satisfied with their overall club experience are significantly more likely to have used an app for registration as well as for accessing club forms and player evaluations.
Case in Point: Reasons to Use Original Research in 2023
As you prepare your marketing budgets and plans for the new year, how will you engage your target audience, build your brand, generate leads, nurture leads, and grow sales?
Original research is the key to differentiating your organization from your competitors and smashing your marketing and sales goals in the coming year.
Here are five reasons you should add original research to your plans next year:
Reason 1: Original research is trusted.
The June 2019 Ascend2 research study, Content Marketing Engagement, found that when it comes to content, having solid evidence to support a claim is extremely important. That is why a 60% majority of marketing professionals report that research and case studies are the most trusted content type by target audiences.
Reason 2: B2B marketers what research.
A Demand Gen Report shows that research is what prospects consider the most valuable content B2B vendors can provide them. Research provides an agnostic perspective on topics that are most important to your prospect. Prospects consider original research extremely valuable because they can use research to generate ideas, influence decision-makers, determine strategy, get approval for their budget, and much more.
Reason 3: Audience engagement.
Original Research is ideal for attracting and engaging prospects. An Ascend2 research study found that fact-based content such as research reports is at the top of the list for the most effective types of content. A BuzzSumo research study found that website traffic, social shares, and mentions from media are the top benefits of original research. A quote from BuzzSumo “At BuzzSumo, the most engaging blog posts we’ve ever written are based on original research.”
Reason 4: People use original research at the beginning of the B2B purchasing process.
Individuals research your company and your products before they talk to your sales team. That is where you can use original research to provide data-driven content that customers need to make their decisions.
Reason 5: Lead conversion.
And what is the ultimate goal of your content? It is to generate a conversion. And what type of content generates the highest customer conversion rate? You guessed it – research!
Producing Original Research is Easy and Affordable With Ascend2
Do you have a research study that you want to do in the coming year? Ascend2 specializes in helping organizations develop actionable research to maximize ROI. Whatever your research goals, we have you covered. We offer a wide variety of research services for projects of all sizes, scopes, and budgets. From large-scale custom programs to fast and efficient branded research ready in as little as two weeks, and everything in between. Learn more.