Business-to-business (B2B) branding is more complex as communication is more technical, audiences are more difficult to reach, and the sales cycles are longer. Commissioning market research to better understand B2B targets, clients, and audiences can reveal intriguing insights for thought-leadership, brand awareness, and more. While market research can arm B2B brands with valuable assets, if not done right, they may encounter a few bumps in the road. Here are the pros and cons to consider if your B2B brand is considering commissioning research.
The Pros of B2B Research
Branding is Crucial for These Sales-Driven Firms
Compared to B2C firms, the B2B landscape is much more sales-driven. The power of brand equity, brand health, and brand awareness is extremely valuable, but often underrated. Market research that measures B2B brand health can result in traditional tangible ROI (e.g., boosted SEO, better customer satisfaction, and increased sales). It can also separate a company from the competition as it delivers unconventional insights that contribute to a better understanding of brand equity.
B2B clients tend to look for functional brand attributes when selecting a firm, as opposed to emotional branding which appeals to the general B2C consumer. When embarking on this type of market research, B2B brands need to develop a questionnaire that fits this type of shopping journey versus the standard consumer survey. Attributes to help uncover key measures of brand equity can include memorability, brand affinity, innovation, and reputation.
Thought-Leadership Research Drives Sales and Engagement
The B2B market is saturated, and research for content marketing is a versatile way to leverage research above competitors. As B2B clients are more rational and relationship-based, thought-leadership research is the perfect method to set your B2B brand apart from the rest. Thought-leadership builds brand credibility and leads to trackable ROI. The metrics are proven: content marketing generates 3X more leads than other types of marketing. Small businesses can see a 126% increase in lead growth when they use content marketing. Story-telling is inherent in human nature. By using research to craft engaging stories, B2B brands can connect the dots between functional branding and logically-minded clients.
The Cons of B2B Research
The B2B Landscape is Changing Due to the Pandemic
Though the B2B space moves slower than B2C, firms may need to revisit or re-commission research multiple times in order to adjust to the whiplash caused by the pandemic. Research can become outdated as quickly as one quarter. This is particularly true during these unprecedented pandemic times, where COVID-19 can cause severe inconsistencies within corporations and global supply chains. While research is agile, firms may need to commit to multiple waves in order to stay relevant.
B2B Market Research is Costly & Limited
In general, B2B research is more costly because the audience is harder to reach. As this audience are professionals, the pool of respondents is smaller and they have less time to participate in studies. Furthermore, these professionals may worry about sharing trade secrets.
B2B firms have much to gain from business-to-business research. Whether your brand is a small firm or a multinational corporation, there are many factors to consider regarding market research. B2B marketing/advertising stakeholders should regularly discuss market research and keep in mind the key benefits & limitations.
Interested in reading more on market research? Check out our other blogs here.
- Differences Between B2B & Consumer Qualitative Research
- The Pros & Cons of International Qualitative Research
- Behind the Scenes of a Successful Insights Panel