This blog post is a case study summary of a recent project we completed with a business publication client in the United States. The study was completed by Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) – a readership study firm and market research vendor with clients all across the country.
Background: A business-focused publication partnered with Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) to use market research to determine its readership preferences and better understand content that readers would be most interested in. The market research focused on obtaining feedback and opinions related to understanding the current, former and potential reader interest and usage of the publication and the revenue opportunities of new ways to deliver business news, research and events (for both print and online). The market research included feedback on subscription package pricing and explored the issue of exactly how much users were willing to pay for online content. The market research examined potential new content, layout and website design options.
Methodology: In order to provide the client with the most well-rounded and thorough market research, the readership study was divided into three separate components:
- (1) Online survey to all subscribers and readers who use the publication, complimentary subscribers and daily email alert sign-ups. This was sent to all users for whom the publication had obtained email addresses for within the multi-county market area. The survey covered sources used for business news, perception of the publication, frequency of use for the different channels, content-specific questions, overall satisfaction with the publication, what users liked best, what users would like to see improved, presumed accuracy of the content, questions about interest in and pricing for a new online business destination.
- (2) In-person in-depth interviews (IDIs) with 12 participants to test the new online business destination concept live. This new online business destination was an upgrade to the publication’s current website with more features. These interviews lasted approximately 45 minutes each and they were held in the QualiSight focus group facility at RMS so clients from the publication could view the interviews live. This allowed the client to watch users interact with the new website as the moderator walked the user through a scripted guide of questions about the content.
- (3) Quick pulse telephone survey to businesses in the same multi-county market area for the publication. This survey was focused on non-users and non-subscribers to the publication to discover perceptions, awareness of sources and why these professionals do not read the business publication.
Results: The market research unveiled a few key findings for the readership study:
- Interestingly, the number one reason for not reading/using the business publication was not a lack of time but rather a lack of awareness. The quick pulse survey revealed 75 percent of business professionals were aware of the publication. Approximately one in four were not aware that the publication existed. This statistic suggests that the publication look to expand its reach and awareness in its 16-county area. This awareness statistic can also serve as a baseline when the readership study is re-commissioned in the future to understand if awareness of the publication has increased or decreased. There was also a general lack of awareness of the different channels that the publication offered among its users. This means a fair percentage of respondents who used the print version were unaware of the website or daily email alerts; respondents who used the website were unaware of the print version or daily email alerts, etc.
- It was determined that the new online business destination (revamped premium website) would not convert many non-users to become users of the publication but current users/readers were highly interested in the new website (especially those aged under 45). Approximately one-third of all current users/subscribers stated they would be likely to subscribe to this new online premium and price points were listed.
- Users of the several different channels of the publication (print, website, daily email alerts) were very highly satisfied with their experiences. Virtually all users, were satisfied with each of the three channels (all 95 percent or higher).
- It was also determined from the market research that the high-end subscription price points that were tested for the new online premium website were essentially in line with participant expectations. The interview findings suggested that the desired price points were consistent with the market’s perception of value. Among the options presented, the online only subscription was the most popular overall.
The results above are just a few of the major findings from the market research readership study managed by RMS. If you are a news publication and you are looking to better understand your readers or discover ways to optimize your content, contact our Business Development Director Sandy Baker at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 315-635-9802.
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