In every business, marketing plays a vital role during the whole process from conceptualizing to selling your product. But when you have a B2B business, the marketing process and particularly consumer research may play out a little differently compared to a traditional B2C business.
In this article, we’d like to help you find out what marketing and consumer research can be like from a B2B business point of view. If you’re unfamiliar with B2B businesses and marketing, we’ll give you more information and a description of the particular differences between B2B marketing and traditional marketing.
What is B2B?
B2B is the shortened form of “business-to-business”. This means that your business involves transactions with another business. Usually, this comes in the form of a manufacturer transacting with a wholesaler or a wholesaler transacting with a retailer. This means that the business does not directly transact with the consumer or end-users, which is at the endpoint of this market chain.
B2B usually offers services and goods such as:
- SaaS (Software as a Service)
- Consumer research
- Various business supplies
- White label goods
This is because the general public which acts as consumers normally have no need for these types of things as individuals. But another business can benefit from these greatly.
What Are The Benefits of B2B Market Research?
The B2B market research also has its specific stages. They differ a bit slightly because of the different types of product selling and different markets than usual. But in essence, its main goal is still to find out more about the customers and sell its products.
Usually, B2B market research involves a wider range because of the large market. Its products are also more difficult to sell. Because of this extra challenge, B2B companies enlist the help of market research facilities to help them pull this complex analysis off.
1. They Can Identify Their Market
The B2B market is different from normal markets because they have to sell to other businesses. During this identification stage of B2B market research, they create consumer personas, market segments, and competitor maps.
It’s important to identify who you’re selling to, and who you’re competing with. Having a clear picture of this helps you set your goals and expectations from your company too.
2. Helps Understand The Buying Process
Once you identify your consumers or the other businesses that you define as your target market then you can get more information about how they think. Specifically, what factors would make them buy your product.
During this stage, you find out what helps make their decisions. “Why do they choose a specific provider?” and “What wins a sale and what loses it?”. These are just some of the questions that a B2B market researcher would try to answer.
3. It Develops The Business Brand
Any business’s brand will make or break how a consumer views it. This is why branding is the particular stage of marketing where marketing specialists like to add their flair.
In the usual marketing, celebrity advertisements or digital ads on social media could do the trick. Good publicity materials and catchy taglines make all the difference. But for a B2B business, this is mostly done behind closed doors and there needs to be a bit more effort in getting a client to know your brand.
You can see what makes your brand unique compared to your competitors. You could also find out what consumers think about your brand and what helps with your customer retention. It may help push you into more improvement and also show you what you’re doing right.
4. Develop Your Products and Services Further
With the B2B market research process, the data that you gather will help you know what exactly your market is looking for. You could tailor the way you meet and provide demonstrations to what your research shows your clients need.
You could also get ideas for new products and services. There might be a specific need in the market that has yet to be filled up by other businesses, and you could be the first to develop a solution.
How is B2B Market Research Different?
Since B2B marketing involves other businesses rather than general public consumers, it would not be effective to market their goods in the same way. In terms of who, what, when, and where, B2B marketing has different targets compared to traditional marketing.
In terms of the “who” that a B2B sells to, these businesses have a niche target and have a more complex market than normal. Their consumers are fewer, but when they do, there is a large gap between high-spending clients and low-spending ones. They also target large businesses so there are more decision-makers involved and they are harder to find and convince than trying to sell to individuals.
In terms of the “what” and the “where”, B2B usually offers goods such as software or raw materials. These products generate higher spending and if they are physical goods they are usually bought in larger numbers. These products, since they are sold to other businesses, are usually tailored to the other business’s needs. This makes B2B products more complex as they are customized.
And lastly, the “how” is the biggest difference of all. There are more stages of a B2B sale compared to a traditional one. It also involves more stakeholders and decision-makers, as previously mentioned.
Because of this, sales are less emotionally driven and have more to do with logic. How a B2B market sells relies on research and how well a company presents its product to another company.
Marketing has always been essential, for all types of businesses. It’s just that for a B2B business, it’s a bit different because the business structure is different. B2B means selling to other businesses, so you would have to market to other businesses as well.
The slight difference in structure causes a slight change in the process of the market research as well. But the endgame is the same. You gain new insights to help your business improve and make your clients and customers even happier.
We hope that our article helped you with understanding how market research is from a B2B perspective. Good luck on your future research!