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Evidence is everything: How market intelligence can offer you twice the value

Although evidence in marketing is generally accepted as valuable, there is a simple trick to multiply its impact. Our guest Derek Britton shares evidence of how.


“What can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence” ~ Christopher Hitchens

I recently had the pleasure of hosting the Customer Marketing Alliance’s Summit, in London. My keynote presentation emphasized the importance of evidence in marketing narratives. While much of that evidence will come from customers, in the form of case studies or 3rd party review sites, that’s not the whole story. There’s a potentially profound value to organisations by looking more holistically at the evidence available.

The proof about proof

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to work with experts from two leading industry analyst organisations, as part of a brand messaging research exercise I was leading. As organisations who hear hundreds upon hundreds of vendor pitches year in, year out – and with a network of tens of thousands of end-user organisations – leading analyst firms observe what resonates, and what does not. Their input to me about messaging was clear:

Why? We all want to know ahead of time that our purchasing decision is sound. Is it dependable, is the product good, and does it provide value for money? That is true whether we are buying a kettle, TV, holiday, or a car. Why would it be any different for B2B buyers? It would not: according to the Content Marketing Institute, 40% of B2B marketers said that case studies are the #1 content type for converting late-stage leads.

Vanson Bourne’s own research validates that perspective. One of their brand studies (Micro Focus, 2021) revealed that 44% of technology buyers will research the vendor’s customer success stories to validate the value of the vendor product before purchasing.

What constitutes evidence?

At the conference, the consensus was that prospects trust other customers’ stories. The opinion of a client offers meaningful, comparable context for the buyer. While the vendor conceives and drafts the story, case studies provide the credibility they deserve. The popularity of third party ‘peer review sites’ is growing for the same reason.

But sometimes the proof we need is not of usage, or even about the product. After all, in a buying journey, there is a whole bunch of ‘not looking’ to convert into ‘interested’ right at the top of the funnel. At this stage, a would-be customer doesn’t care about products or solutions, but might be interested in learning about the evolution of a marketplace, emerging trends, topical challenges.

And the more factual the insight, the better informed they feel. They are exploring, researching, learning. They aren’t evaluating vendors. Yet.

Even at this stage, information still needs to be independent, and as comprehensive as is available. Using a third-party market research agency, with the logistical capability to run large-scale surveys across a range of geographies, sectors, and roles, opens an invaluable portal into what the market thinks, and what it might want to hear.

The Win-Win Approach

Market research studies offer vendors the opportunity to capture valuable market data (quantitative and qualitative), to help shape brand and product strategy and investment decisions. Feeding market data back into product development ensures there is a solid outside-in alignment for future direction.

But there’s a second element of value here. Market data also represents important thought leadership opportunity. New evidence about market appetites provides insight that the whole market would likely find illuminating, immediately. While some of the market data may be retained as proprietary by the commissioning organisation, that organisation will enhance their reputation as thought-leaders. Investing and volunteering statistics on market direction, puts a vendor in the driving seat of the conversation in the eyes of a market of would-be customers. And – especially at the early stage of the buyer’s journey – establishing relevance, importance, and an associated brand authority around a topic will establish incremental vendor credibility, while also positively influencing the market’s impetus to act.

This report explains the importance, and value, of brands that overtly seek to [digitally] connect with their market, stating “When customers feel connected to brands, more than half of consumers (57%) will increase their spending with that brand and 76% will buy from them over a competitor.”

So, in marketing terms, owning the narrative requires an organisation to influence the market towards the desired sales funnel. And what better way than to use credible, topical, primary market evidence, that can be played back to build brand authority? Using the same means to learn from the market as well as to promote yourselves into that market is a smart use of budget. A genuine win-win.

If you don’t talk about it, it didn’t happen.

The next time your organisation is looking to build a thought-leadership campaign to support a lead generation push, ensure you have unique, meaningful market insight to support the preliminary stages of the buying journey, backed up by meaningful customer testimonials for the later stages.

The value of market insight is twofold – multiplying its marketing value. First, using the insight informs a product strategy that is aligned with market need, improving future positioning. Second – crucially – your brand reputation is broadened by establishing yourself as a voice of authority in that space.

Market data is invaluable insight. Don’t just use the insight – promote your insight and win twice.



Derek is a technology marketing consultant, advisor, and commentator, with over 30 years’ experience leading corporate branding, product marketing, marketing communications, and customer marketing. You can find him on LinkedIn here.


Want to keep reading? Explore our case studies for evidence of how Vanson Bourne can help you unlock market insights and engage your customers.