Archive for the ‘Market Research USA’ Category
If, like me, you are sitting in the UK, running a market research business on three different continents, it can feel like you have an average body temperature but it is made up of a foot in the fire and the foot in the fridge. The fire and the fridge are the markets of North America and China.
B2B International entered the US and Chinese markets six or seven years ago. Both countries are important to our organisation; as an international business-to-business market research company, we know that we have to have a foot in each camp. Indeed, we had being doing business in both countries for many years prior to this, but always remotely. We sent people from the UK or commissioned partners in the respective countries to carry out the interviewing. However, we knew that if we really meant business in these countries, we had to set down roots there.
These nations are surprisingly similar in physical size at 3.7 million square miles (nearly 6 times the size of the UK). In population, China wins hands down with 1.3 billion compared to 314 million in the USA. In economic terms, it is the US that dominates, with a GDP of $15 trillion per annum compared to $7.3 trillion for China. However, I am just playing with figures and the fact remains that both these countries are giants on the planet and forces to be reckoned with for market researchers.
Setting up a business in each country was relatively easy. We had to be a little careful as to how we defined our business in China because market research companies are looked at with some suspicion, if only because in theory they could carry out social and political studies, which are somewhat frowned upon. In our specialised niche of business-to-business market research this was not a problem. The US had no such restrictions and establishing a business required some form filling and administrative niceties but not much more.
Once we had a physical presence in each country we began to seriously address them as local markets, promoting our services as a supplier of b2b market research. It was at this time that we were struck by the huge differences between the countries. The USA is the home of market research. It began there in the early 1800s, and by the early 1900s the fledgling market research industry had started focusing on advertising testing in one form or another. The industry arrived on the European shores in the 1920s and 30s but it didn’t make it to China until around the year 2000. Not surprisingly, the US market for market research is many times bigger than that in China and much more mature.
The attitude to market research in the two countries could not be more different. In the established market of the US, where a large number of managers have a formal business education, it is accepted that major business decisions must be underpinned with objective data. It is not unusual for a relatively small US company with revenues of only $20 million per annum to commission a market survey costing $100,000. In China it is not unusual for a company with revenues of $2 billion to thumb its nose at spending $20,000 on a market research project. No doubt Chinese companies will modify this view as they find they cannot compete on product and price alone. They will be forced to become more sophisticated in targeting their audiences and understanding them more fully. This may take a few years and in the meantime a good deal of the market research commissioned in China will be by Western companies wanting a deeper understanding of how they can build their businesses in that country.
The implementation of research in the US and China is very different. In China there is a gulf between the massive cities and the rural hinterland. People are not yet forthcoming with their views and opinions and, as a result, the answers to market researchers’ questions can sometimes be a little on the thin side. On the other hand, most Chinese people will still spare the market researcher the time of day in contrast to the US, where it is almost impossible nowadays to get anyone in a large company to answer their phone rather than let it ring through to a voice message.
Paul Hague, founder of B2B International
Another exceedingly strong year of growth for international business-to-business market research and market intelligence specialists
B2B International experienced its best ever year for growth in 2012, its turnover expanding by 28% to £5.1 million. Since its formation in 1998, the company continues its record of growing its revenue and making a profit for 15 consecutive years.
CEO Matthew Harrison explains, “We placed a huge emphasis on close collaboration with our larger accounts during 2012, with a doubling in the number of clients commissioning research worth £100,000 or more.”
Growth was particularly strong in North America, with revenue increasing by a huge 68% during the year. In Europe (including UK), revenue grew by over 25% for the second consecutive year. Harrison adds “the fact that we are firmly established in three continents has been crucial for us, as most of our largest projects are multinational in nature.”
In keeping with its rapid revenue growth, B2B International’s workforce also continues to grow, with eight new members added to the analytics team in the past year alone.
The new ESOMAR global market research industry report for 2011 shows that the industry has now grown to US $31.2 billion in 2010.
This represents an overall growth of 5.2% and 2.8% after adjustment for inflation – a significant improvement on 2009 but in line with expectations of economic recovery.
Some of the key highlights of this report include:
For a more detailed look at the figures visit: http://www.esomar.org
ESOMAR recently published the results of its eighth annual Global Prices Study 2010, which evaluates the pricing of different types of market research around the world.
One of the interesting points highlighted by the study – which was conducted among 100 countries – was the huge variety, not only of prices, but also of research methodologies favoured or employed in different geographies. For example, online research is not available in every market; similarly, face-to-face interviewing is not conducted everywhere.
However, one of the most notable findings from the perspective of B2B International, which researches markets worldwide from its offices in the UK, USA and China, was the fact that the USA topped the rankings as the most expensive market globally in which to conduct research.
Matthew Harrison, Director of our New York office, explains why the results of the survey did not come as a surprise to him:
Harrison, however, additionally points to a slightly more unusual contributor to the high prices associated with the US:
These facts aside, Harrison is keen to point out that while the actual price of research in the States may appear on the high side, the return on investment gained from good quality market research should never, ever be underestimated.
One of the biggest challenges facing any higher education institution is attracting students through its doors. The Tufts Gordon Institute, part of Tufts University’s School of Engineering in Boston, Massachusetts, recently commissioned global market research specialist B2B International to research the views of potential masters degree students across North America. The project’s objective was to assist Tufts Engineering School in updating its innovative masters program in management specifically aimed at engineering and science graduates—the Master of Science in Engineering Management (MSEM).
The MSEM degree is a relatively new phenomenon, only recently appearing at various top universities across North America. Tufts University has been one successful school with this offering, and its directors were interested to learn more about potential students’ preferences so it could optimize the program further.
Eve Lenkowsky, Research Executive at B2B International explains, “Typically, science and engineering college graduates have been faced with the choice of either learning about business completely outside of their scientific fields, or simply continuing with an advanced engineering or science program like a masters or Ph.D. Few institutions give ambitious science graduates the chance to make their skills more applicable to the modern workplace and, in particular, management positions. Our project confirmed that there is a rising need for this kind of offering.”
The study was conducted among American and Canadian professionals who had all previously completed an undergraduate course in engineering or science. Nearly all are currently employed in an engineering, scientific or technical role and stated a possible interest in pursuing a graduate masters degree or Ph.D. in engineering or science. Carried out via e-survey, some of the key findings from the study include the following:
Mary Viola, Engineering Management Program Director, concluded, “We were very pleased with the success of the research. The feedback from the participants reveals clear trends and preferences which we will build into our program to meet the needs of our potential students even more effectively. We look forward to better serving students who are looking to develop into leaders of technology companies.”
With 30 years’ experience in business-to-business market research, B2B International has built up an impressive client portfolio and has published books, white papers and articles on marketing and market research. It has offices in three continents (North America, Europe and Asia) where its research specialists have researched all the major geographical areas of the world.
B2B International’s offering includes market assessment and market entry studies, segmentation studies, product development studies, branding studies, customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction research, pricing strategy and advertising studies. B2B’s leading practitioners have also run a large number of training courses on marketing and market research.
About The Tufts Gordon Institute
Their focus on engineering leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship – in classes, hands-on projects and real-world experiences – gives students the practical leadership tools they need not only to advance their careers, but to inspire teams, and to encourage and develop innovative ideas that will make a difference in the world.