Archive for the ‘Market Research’ Category
We always read with great interest the GreenBook Research Industry Trends Report. This publication contains a number of interesting articles and insights into our beloved market research industry – both from the perspective of suppliers like ourselves and from the point of view of the clients who use us.
The latest report (12th Edition) was published recently and looks at the trends, technologies and methodologies that are coming to the fore at the present time, and how these are impacting on the industry in the immediate and the near term. Please click here to view the full report.
We at B2B International are delighted to learn that we have been shortlisted as a finalist for the RAR Awards 2013. A contender for the Market Research category, our RAR Recommend Agency Register nomination is based on positive client reviews and testimonials, so it’s especially pleasing that this recognition comes thanks to satisfied clients.
This latest accolade comes on the back of our being shortlisted at the end of last year for a Best Agency award at the Market Research Society’s annual research awards.
The winners of the RAR Awards will be announced at a ceremony in London next month. More information can be found at http://www.recommendedagencies.com
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
It would seem that the North American construction sector is experiencing something of an upswing. Indeed, a recent article in USA Today (“Construction industry faces worker shortage”, November 28, 2012) explains that, after shedding 2.2 million workers over the previous four years, contractors are now struggling with worker shortages as the home-building market comes to life and some commercial sectors strengthen. This is backed up by figures from the United States Census Bureau, showing that total monthly construction spending in the U.S. reached its highest levels for three years in October 2012 ($868,215m).
The current moderate upswing in activity has been borne out by increased construction sector activity across B2B International’s U.S. operations. According to New York-based Director Julia Cupman: “Throughout the course of 2012, we noticed a steady but marked increase in research proposals and commissions for market research across all areas of construction. While our work across wide-ranging industry sectors often enables us to pick out particular industry trends and patterns, I believe this particular uplift is a positive sign of a strengthening economy at large.”
With fears raised in the UK last week of Britain heading into a triple-dip recession, let’s hope the U.S. construction sector upswing is indicative of good news for the global economy.
You can find out more about our construction market research services here.
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.