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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Barlow

Using Marketing Research to Improve Corporate Communications Strategy

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

This past summer as an intern for iXsystems, a mid-sized storage technology company, I had the opportunity to try out new ideas, take chances, and embrace the possibility of making mistakes. Many of these "you know what would be cool?" ideas resulted in some of my favorite projects to work on, one of which was a survey.

Creating and Launching the Survey

The first step in the process was brainstorming questions that would help the company improve its external email communications and content marketing strategy. The target audience mainly consisted of community members who have downloaded the storage software for free on the TrueNAS website and people using the professional version of the software at work. Overall, the audience is typically more technically savvy.

One of the challenges for any organization is finding ways to have its messaging resonate more with its target audience. Thus, the top question the survey included pertained to the type of content they are most interested in seeing from the organization. To help the company improve its goal of driving more engagement, I created and emailed a short, four-question survey to our list of over 150,000 email subscribers. The survey was a success and had a great sample size of over 2,000 responses. The survey data provided valuable insight into what content the organization could focus on creating in the future.

Below on the left is the email sent to subscribers and on the right is the survey form.

On the left is a picture of the survey email and the right is a screenshot of the survey form.

Presenting the Findings

After analyzing the data, the responses indicated there was a clear desire from the subscribers to receive how-to guides related to the TrueNAS software. Thus, an insight I drew from the survey was that to better resonate with the audience, the organization could share information that would help people to maximize the full potential of the software.

Though the company had previously shared how-to guides and informational videos on the website, the survey confirmed that we could continue focusing our efforts in that direction. Presenting the findings to our marketing team and some of our leadership members was a rewarding experience. Seeing a project through all the way from developing the questions to presenting the findings gave me a greater appreciation for how much time and effort goes into creating a well designed marketing research strategy.


Over the coming months, the marketing team developed an initiative for several of the TrueNAS community members to share user generated content related to how they use the software, thus supporting the cause of creating more how-to guides and informational content. We then then planned out ways to redistribute the information on social media, email, and the community forums. The organization also shared informational content that was created in prior years via. email, which also helped the marketing team to maximize the information that was already available to drive further engagement.



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