Every day we see new survey findings in the news – everything from the cleanest city and the best beaches to the unhealthiest states and most stressful careers. Nationally known research companies such as Kelton Research, Gallup and Harris Interactive are making a killing organizing consumer surveys for foundations, corporations and consumer interest groups. However, these large-scale formal surveys can be costly.

But there’s good news: it doesn’t always take a $50,000 budget to conduct a survey of your key audience and make headlines. In fact, it can be done in the privacy of your own network and, oftentimes, the results are more telling and more accurate – a benefit of having control of your sample size.

Earlier this year, an RH client realized the power of the poll (for the second time!) and secured key industry headlines in order to reach their target audience with findings on an important industry topic – health insurance exchanges (HIX), an initiative of the Affordable Care Act that will open an online health insurance marketplace for millions of Americans later this year.

At a gathering of the company’s partners and customers last February, this client capitalized on a room full of senior healthcare professionals and healthcare payer decision-makers at their fingertips and asked them what their concerns are for the insurance industry shift to HIX and what it means for their businesses and relationships with trading partners. The survey results revealed some mixed emotions. It was clear that respondents recognize the business opportunities for participating in an exchange, yet there was skepticism that the state and/or federal HIXs would be ready for the October 1, 2013 launch day. And there lies your headlines:

  • “On State Exchanges, Health Insurers Eager to Join, Wary to Operate”
  • “Survey shows concerns about HIX deadline”
  • “Insurers Doubt Fed’s HIX Readiness”
  • “Six Months to Go –– Will the Health Insurance Exchanges Be Ready on Time? Survey: Health Plan Execs Don’t Think So”

In a push to healthcare industry trade publications and those following the health insurance industry, our team organized a cycle of pitching efforts that spread these findings far and wide. And in the end, the news garnered a total of 14 original articles in health, technology and insurance trade outlets and continues to bring in inquiries from our key reporters as they reference the survey data for future stories. Additionally, these findings and perspectives have equipped the team with fresh pitching content and supporting evidence for storytelling.

Companies that host partners, customers, or even industry peers should jump on the chance to hear their positioning on current trends or initiatives. Survey data is a surefire way to insert a company name in an existing news cycle or, better yet, be the creator of one.