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Thought leadership research reports

SDL

Why do B2B companies commission research in the quest for ‘thought leadership’ content? For SDL (the dominant leader in the market for translation productivity software), it was about showing the translation industry that they don’t take their leadership for granted, but work hard to listen to their customers and keep innovating to meet evolving expectations.

SDL came to HN after running a global ‘state of the industry’ survey to use as a springboard for commentary and positioning. They wanted help in presenting the results, and chose HN because they trusted us not only to ‘get’ the tech and the data analytics, but to be the champions of their audience.

Since every B2B ‘thought leadership’ piece still has an implicit selling objective, it’s all too easy for internal teams to slide into product talk. A big part of our job was to refuse to be drawn into extolling cool new capabilities without pushing to find the underlying concepts and messages that the audience would care about, that would do the thought-leadership job we’d set out to do.

With the initial summary report outperforming every other thought leadership piece SDL had previously produced, SDL has decided to repeat the survey every few years.

Thought leadership research report - SDL

Challenges

  • Position SDL as a thoughtful, responsive and innovative market leader

  • Find a user-friendly way to present results for a very large survey (~100 questions covering 5 themes)

Solutions

  • Expertise in weaving compelling issues-focused narratives from research data

  • Practical plan to manage the scale of the project

    • Series of 6 reports in ebook format:
      • Executive summary (key takeaways for all 5 themes)
      • 5 ‘deep dives’ (one for each theme)

Results

  • 2x more downloads for the executive summary than for any other SDL eBook

    • Successfully used to:
      • Raise the level of sales engagement with prospects
      • Support roadshows
      • Build nurture campaigns for three different audiences

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