Elbow Lessons: What You Can Learn From a Survey

In the journalism world, the value of surveys has been a topic of hot debate for decades (maybe longer). After all, survey results are really just a particular group’s opinions, and opinions, as we know, are like elbows – everyone has one or two.

Marketing professionals, however, recognize the value of a good survey, because opinions influence decisions, and marketing is all about influencing opinions. Hence the reasoning behind our recent survey of folks who use online content marketing. Readex Research conducted the survey on behalf of Brandpoint and the Content Marketing Institute.

Some eye-opening opinion patterns emerged from that survey. In the competitive world of online marketing, it pays to know what everyone else is thinking, and smart marketers know they can’t be above looking at someone else’s elbows.

Here are the three most interesting things we learned about what online marketers are doing and thinking when it comes to content marketing:

1. Quality trumps quantity, SEO and everything else. 

The responses to several survey questions pointed to this conclusion. Respondents cited engaging, creative storytelling, custom-crafting and professional-level writing as the three most important things they want from a content-creation partner. What’s more, considerations like search engine optimization and high-volume production both placed in the bottom half of the 11 values we asked respondents to rank.

Which leads us to our next conclusion …

2. Marketers are clear on the need to sell to people, not just search engines. 

The elements marketers want most from their content speak directly to their understanding of who’s on the receiving end of it – and who the ultimate decision-makers are. The majority of respondents (82 percent) said it’s more important that their website and blog copy be written for people, rather than search engines. Though they’re enthusiastically embracing new technologies and marketing tools, marketers are not losing sight of the importance of the human element in everything they do.

3. Money is less of an object than you might think. 

Perhaps the most eye-popping tidbit to emerge from our survey is that marketers are willing to spend more to get more. In fact, 80 percent of those polled said they are willing to pay more for well-crafted, custom, professional copy. They’re also not afraid to spend money on outsourcing, with 70 percent saying they plan to outsource content production, including video, infographics and online articles, in the next 12 months. 

In all, our survey taught us a few new things and reinforced some we already knew – which is a good outcome for any survey. Turns out you can learn a lot by looking at elbows.

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