Why B2B Market Research Takes a Different Approach
B2B market research comes with challenges unlike standard consumer market research. And companies seeking market research should know the differences and why it makes sense to rely on market research firms with experience working in the business-to-business landscape.
Market research is a crucial part of a company’s pursuit of a given market. The process of gathering, analyzing and interpreting information about a market — the very basic elements of market research — is challenging enough at the consumer level. You need to incentivize participants to be a part of the research and find the right demographics for the product or service being tested.
When it comes to B2B market research — whether you are conducting research in an industry such as healthcare or agriculture — the approach is going to be different and the challenges unlike some of what a consumer market researcher will face. It is important for any B2B company that wants to know about demand or needs in a market to know the differences between consumer and business-focused market research.
What is the difference between B2B market research and consumer research?
Despite similarities in how research is conducted, there are concrete differences between consumer and B2B research.
Typically, target audiences for B2B market research projects are going to be smaller in volume than consumer-focused samples. For example, if you are wondering how your construction equipment will fare among contractors in Russia you are going to be working within a limited pool of people who own or operate construction machinery in that country. While a consumer market research agency can put you in front of 25 to 40-year-olds with purchasing power in Russia, can they put you in front of a specific group of business leaders who make construction equipment purchasing decisions? That is a crucial question to ask if you are looking to conduct B2B global market research.
As another example, in the healthcare sector it can be quite difficult to get in front of the right decision makers when conducting market research. Let’s say you are a pharmaceutical company looking to gain insights from physicians who may prescribe your medication. It is imperative that you find a market research firm with the ability to survey physicians and provide you with that research under deadline. In that case, it is extremely important to choose a market research firm with experience speaking to those influential physicians (or oftentimes, key opinion leaders). A firm with limited experience conducting research with that audience will find it extremely difficult to conduct that kind of research, which may negatively impact data quality and make the recruitment costs prohibitive.
Firms who work in B2B market research pull data from relevant decision makers within key business sectors. Ideally, they are market research firms with a strong regional presence and a global vision — they understand your market research needs, can work under tight deadlines and set budgets, and can deliver you comprehensive information that will help you drive business decisions.
What should I ask a B2B market research firm?
It is crucial to ask B2B market researchers about their experience in your given sector. You want to work with a team with built-in connections in your industry. Ask them for examples of past projects and for recommendations from any producers or firms they have collaborated with before. You also want to understand a bit about their methodology.
Do they have team members with advanced degrees in marketing, business or sociology? That is a plus. Are they members of trusted organizations such as ESOMAR (the European Society for Opinion and Market Research) or the AMA (American Marketing Association)? That also shows they are immersed in the industry and care about the quality of their research work.
How do I get started with B2B market research?
Before you get started on B2B market research, you need to do some research of your own to find the best partner firm. We would love to be able to help you in your decision-making process. Along with our global reach in B2B market research, we are part of an independent body of market research firms called The Research Alliance. Covering more than two dozen countries alongside our partners, we are confident we can help you find what you are looking for.
Contact us today and we will help you advance your B2B market research needs.