Marketers, make research fun with these 5 awesome tools
[UPDATE: Candy transformed into lumio on 8 March 2017.
Learn how and why on our blog.]
Marketing is getting increasingly technical. To companies everywhere, it’s becoming more and more about analytics, SEO, and conversions. Which is good, because it works. But for marketers everywhere, there’s a whole other dimension to the field that they need to deal with before they can measure any results or tweak any tactics. It’s called research.
The very essence of marketing comes from gathering and analyzing information. As a marketer, you need to do research about your competitors, user personas, the market itself, latest trends in the industry, and much more. For many, this can be a dull activity. There is a misconception that the magic only happens in the latter phases of marketing activities and when you’re actually seeing results in terms of conversions and sales. This myth needs to be debunked. Excellent marketing can’t be done without thorough research. And research can be made pleasant, intellectually stimulating, and yes — fun!
Here are the five tools that I assure, will make the research process a productive and a fun experience for any marketer.
Let’s start with setting the mood. Whether you’re a freelancer working from a local coffee shop or a professional spending most of your day in a buzzing office, one thing’s for sure — you need to focus in order to do your research.
Noisili is a beautifully simplistic ambient sound app that will block out annoying noises around you and fill that space with beautiful sounds while creating a peaceful environment that will boost your focus and productivity. And if you’re the traveling kind — it also works offline.
Google Scholar is perhaps one of the most underrated marketing tools out there. The golden rule of research is that you need to rely on original sources. And no, Wikipedia is not an original or hugely reliable source for research or planning out any marketing activities.
Google Scholar is a platform through which it is the easiest to find original resources with correct citations. The search offers scholarly literature from technical reports and academic theses to conference papers and patents and everything in between. What more do you need?
The Candy app
So you’ve found all the resources ad materials for doing your research. You have dozens of tabs open, you’ve created a spreadsheet with some links and data, maybe there’s a youtube video that’s really useful or a Twitter feed you could use. What a mess! There really is no point in gathering all that data if you can’t get it organized. Marketers rejoice, there’s an app for it now.
The Candy app is a bookmarking tool that allows you to save website content, including text, images, videos and social media posts with the original source information and organize them as cards, called Candys. Candys can be arranged into customized Storylines which are your personalized resources built from only the information that you need and presented in the exact order that you choose. Plus, it’s shareable and searchable, and visually appealing.
The Person app
A big portion of marketing research is done for user personas. Who are the people most interested in your product? Getting to know your target audience is fundamentally important in successfully reaching them. The last time I saw a user persona research, it was done on a Powerpoint template by using tacky clip art and bullet points. Not a pretty sight, nor very practical for that matter.
The Person app is an easy-to-use web interface that let’s you create lightweight user personal and visualize your audience before you start building or marketing your product. Creating the persona information is quick and you can easily modify and share your findings with your team.
Research and writing go hand in hand. Putting down your findings in your own words after days of research is a satisfying experience. Marketers do a lot of content creation, whether it’s newsletters, blog posts, social media, important emails to partners or press releases and media pitches. And oh the terror, when a typo slips in despite the regular spell checker, a mistake which you can never ever take back. Usually, it’s not a big deal, but it doesn’t make it any less embarrassing.
Grammarly is an ingenious little proofreading tool, that never lets a typo, incorrect word, or even a wrongly used comma slip through the cracks. Not only does Grammarly fix your grammar and sentence structure, it even detects plagiarized content.
About me and Candy
I’m a co-founder at the Candy team. I’m in constant chat with users about how and why they use the Candy app. The list above is the result of conversations with marketers who have been using one or more of the apps above actively in recent weeks.
If you’ve found the list interesting, give all apps a try.