The Importance of Market Research in B2B Marketing
B2B and B2C businesses alike require solid market research or they run the risk of:
- Not knowing who your customers are, or why they chose your product/service
- Not knowing the optimal cost of acquisition per client
- Not delivering what the customer is actually looking for
- A lack of knowledge/understanding of the market wants and needs in you product/service
The difference between B2B and B2C market research is obvious; the end user is either an individual or another business/corporation. It can be argued though that B2B transactions rely more heavily on market research backed products and services because businesses understand the ins-and-outs more than the average consumer. Businesses want proof. Without proof anything you say to them is an empty promise.
Think of your business as a skyscraper. Marketing makes up the base of the building. The bottom few floors are what the public sees, and if they like the look of it they will walk through the doors. Market research is the foundation of marketing and of your skyscraper. Just as a well-built tower needs a strong foundation to remain sturdy, marketing decisions require the support of research in order to be viewed favourably by customers and to stand up to competition and other external pressures.
Many people make the mistake of only associating market research with start-ups and entrepreneurs with new business ventures. It is this attitude that market research is something completed at the beginning of a company that has led to the lack of understanding and utilisation in marketing today. Market research is never really “finished” or “completed”. It is true that research commences and is highly important at the very start of a new professional idea, but it needs to be carried out through the life of the business. Research should be constantly referred to, updated and advanced. The foundations of your building don’t simply vanish or lose their importance once the structure is built!
I can hear what you’re saying: “Market research is too expensive… too time consuming… too hard!” The bottom line is, effective market research can gain you invaluable information about your competitors, economic shifts, demographics, current market trends and the spending traits of your customers. So it will cost you a lot more time and money in the long run if you don’t develop your market research capabilities now. Not only that, there are a range of cost-effective tools you can use to conduct your own research effectively.
In order to meet ever-changing industry conditions your marketers must have sufficient market knowledge to make the right adjustments to strategies to leverage the best results for the company.
For marketers who deal with so many intangible elements dealing with human behaviour, research is a critical component for good decision-making. For every marketing decision there are a myriad of market research types to explore. Some level of research is always necessary to support your marketing decisions; it’s up to you to pick the variety that suits your needs.
Below are some of the main areas successful marketers focus on to reduce uncertainty for management in their decision making to get you started:
|Segmentation and Targeting
|Basic demographic, geographic, psychographic and behavioural information about your target businesses market can aid you in determining the features your offering should encompass in order to fit into the businesses requirements.
Knowing how your product fits the needs of your clients and what changes may need to occur to make the product more attractive is essential. Popular approaches to this focus on utilising User Testing and User Experience Research.
Marketing Communication and Media Selection
Undertaking “advertising effectiveness research” on a continual basis can determine the effectiveness of advertising and marketing communications. This allows marketers to develop effective strategies and identify when your target market is no longer paying attention. Ensure the appropriate media is being utilised to reach your targeted businesses. Popular approaches to measuring this focus on analysing Brand Awareness and Brand Reputation.
|Market and Competitive Analysis
Know your current marketing situation! Not only an important element for new products but also for current products given the ever-changing market dynamics. If marketers don’t stay in touch with current consumer trends they can face rapid market share loses. Ensure these loses aren’t your competitors gains.
|Pricing and Forecasting
Pricing is an important determinant in buying decisions; so pricing studies can be used to determine how customers or businesses evaluate price relative to other product features compared to competitors. Forecasting future sales are also important to utilise for budgeting, production and staffing decisions.