Two weeks ago I participated in a #Hootchat about content marketing. The Twitter chat started by asking us how we define content marketing. The majority rallies along the lines of educating, informing, helping and engaging a targeted audience with your brand story and relevant content.

What surprised me is that nobody defined content marketing in terms of better understanding your audience and their aspirations. This is where many brands are missing out. They are missing out on the biggest opportunity that content marketing and social platforms are offering them.

What surprised me is that none of participants defined content marketing as a market research tool. Why not use content marketing to test the appeal of an idea, to refine a concept or a product, or to better grasp what motivates your customers and what challenges them? Why not use content marketing to discover and identify new niche or product opportunity?

Any business gets a lot of qualitative data through what their audience is saying online. Maybe, it’s time to be more strategic and include market research as a component of your content marketing and social initiatives. What do you think?