Business research

3 Types of Business Research to Develop a Better Content Marketing Plan

“Stop writing about everything. So many brands are creating content and trying to cover it all, instead of focusing on the main niche where they can position themselves as an expert. Nobody cares about your special recipe… Find your niche, then go for it some more. “- Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute

I love this quote. It strikes you right between the eyes of the most common content marketing mistake.

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But I also have a problem with this.

You can only go into a niche if you have a thorough knowledge of the company, its target audience, its main message, and a lot of other things about it. Which is not that easy if you are creating content on behalf of a client.

First of all, you probably don’t know them very well. Maybe you’ve never even met them, your sales rep has. You haven’t used their product and besides, you might not even be their target audience.

Yet, you are responsible for creating content that will attract, engage, and connect people to the brand.

Cunning.

What’s the exit? Learn your client’s business model. Here are 3 types of business research you can ask them or create with them that will help you know everything you need about them almost momentarily.

Brand pyramid

Brand pyramid

A brand pyramid is a concept used not only to create a brand, but also to innovate within the brand concept. It helps companies develop the entire communication strategy, from the offering to the so-called “brand idea”, the essence of what a brand brings to the market.

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There are many versions of a brand pyramid concept. In order to learn the business of clients, a base would suffice. It would typically include the following:

Characteristics and attributes

These include all the tangible assets of a company but also present the differentiating elements of the company’s offer.

Functional advantages

These would all be tangible benefits that customer experience when interacting with a brand, that is, free shipping, expert advice, after-sales support, technical support, etc.

Emotional benefits

These are the intangible benefits that customers will experience when they buy from a brand. Some examples may include more time, speed, convenience, peace of mind, security, etc.

Brand personality

Each brand has a personality. It is indeed the very element that appeals to customers and pushes them to choose one brand over another. Just as we choose our friends based on their personalities, we do it with brands.

Brand idea

The brand idea is the essence of a brand, a concept its customers think of every time they come across a brand.

Think about any brand and you should quickly know its essence.

For Disney it will be Magic, for Volvo, security. Amazon gasoline would probably be everything, easily while for Apple, innovation.

The application in content marketing: A brand pyramid helps define a company’s personality, suggest the tone of voice you should use, and the type of content you should create.

Business model canvas

A business model canvas is a system developed by Alex Osterwalder that, as the name suggests, helps companies create and innovate complete business models.

Business model generator2

A business model outline covers all aspects of a business transaction and includes information on:

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  • main value proposition
  • customer segments
  • customer relationships
  • key channels to reach customers in
  • key activities in a company
  • key resources
  • key partners
  • cost structure
  • income stream

In short, it’s the whole business bundled together in a one-page template, making it extremely easy to understand and learn all the ins and outs.

The application in content marketing: Despite its very business organization oriented approach, a business model outline can be extremely useful in creating a content marketing strategy for clients.

First of all, it reveals exactly who your customers are. It also identifies early adopters, the people your customer might want to talk to first.

A business model outline helps identify what makes your customer offering distinctive.

It defines all the channels that they will want to use to reach and supply customers. This is extremely valuable information because it can influence your entire content distribution strategy.

Finally, it also defines the type of relationships your client wants to establish with their clients. This information can affect the type of content and message you will design for them.

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Positioning map

The two types of research mentioned above relate only to a brand and an economic model, a positioning map looks at it in relation to its competitors.

Positioning map

The positioning map is used to analyze the positions of competing companies with respect to two specific characteristics of the product or the market.

A position map uses the x and y axes to graphically represent the strength and position of two characteristics of a product or market and show a relative position of each competing company in relation to them.

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One of the biggest advantages of using this method is that it allows you to position a brand against its direct competitors in different categories of positions and show which elements of a business need attention in order to to make the offer of brands more competitive than its competitors.

The application in content marketing: The positioning map first allows you to establish which market characteristics your client uses to compare himself to his competition and also, in which elements of his model he excels.

Developing a content marketing strategy that works takes a bit of entrepreneurship. In order to design strategy and content that work, engage the audience you need to have a deep understanding of your customer’s business. However, many times a short conversation is not enough to find out everything you need to know. Not to mention wasting time going back and forth for more information.

By using a systemized approach provided by various business research methods, you can get all the information quickly and efficiently.

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Your turn

How do you overcome the problem of not knowing your clients’ businesses well when working on their content strategy? Share your tips with us in the comments.

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