In the B2B sector, market research tends to be viewed as an option rather than as a commercial imperative, particularly for smaller companies. However, knowledge is power and understanding the attitudes, preferences and/or perceptions of customers and potential customers towards a product, service or brand proposition is essential for any organisation seeking to expand its business.
When carried out well, market research cuts the risk out of marketing and enables more effective targeting, allowing companies to make the best use of opportunities and to reach new audiences. It takes perception and guesswork out of the equation and highlights problem areas; it also provides actionable recommendations in the face of internal disagreements.
Four useful tips to consider when planning research are:
Don’t do it for its own sake: It is important that companies consider whether or not they would benefit from conducting research every year. I don’t advocate doing research if they don’t need or use it but it is important to consider it seriously.
Set achievable objectives: Try not to do everything at once. Focus on areas of biggest impact and make a point of measuring the impact so that you can see ROI. This will act as an incentive to make a habit of it.
Don’t duplicate: Before you commission research, check that it has not already been done by someone else within your company.
Get advice if required: The bigger the project, the more sense it makes to use an agency. An agency will be able to advise you on what to do, guarantee to deliver findings and help you understand the implications for your business.
Remember, the cost of research may sometimes feel daunting but if you cost out your own time, you will realise it is an expensive occupation. The cost is hidden if you do it yourself because you donât see the money going out of the door.
CASE STUDY: HAZARD MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS:
B2B International recently helped HMS to enter the corporate market for counter terrorism services. Its clients are predominantly government, law enforcement and military. We saw we could expand into supporting civilian business and commerce but we were not sure how to go about it, says Andy Cooper, business director of HMS, who approached B2B International. They jointly compiled a list of potential prospects, such as hotel groups, banks and petro-chemical companies and put together a telephone questionnaire regarding their needs. âWhen we got the data, we invited respondents to a two-day forum to look at products and a mock-up website that gave them an idea of the support we could give online. We got some very good guidance as to what we should and should not be doing and that helped us tailor the way we approach businesses, he says. B2B international also conducted a branding workshop as part of the forum.
I was very impressed with the way B2B International carried out the research and presented us with the results, says Cooper. We spent £16,000 on the campaign and like to think we will make around 10-times that, if not more, in the first year.
“An excellent service with some surprising results. The quality of delivery was excellent and the final deliverables second to none. I would highly recommend B2B to other companies” – Business Director HMS Ltd