There should be some type of highlight intro paragraph here to sum up the article. Business-to-Business (B2B) market research focuses on understanding the relationships between businesses, which are typically much more complicated than Business-to-Consumer (B2C) relationships.

Researching how businesses operate and transact requires significantly more expertise and effort. From the customer to the employee, to vendors and partners, businesses have many relationships that impact their top and bottom lines. Researching those customer and vendor relationships requires an insights partner with the right experience and expertise.

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Businesses are complex in nature, and their market positions can be even more challenging based on what kind of company they are, the industry or industries they operate in, the category or categories they compete in and their portfolio of products and/or services. We can think of a company’s market position as concentric circles with industry being the outer circle, company being the larger interior circle, the next smaller interior circle being category, then the smallest interior circle being the products and/or services.

Consequently, good research design must consider a company’s market position and each of the following elements: audiences to target, questions to ask, competitors to include and at what level of detail the study needs to focus with respect to a product or service portfolio.

When we look at businesses that primarily sells to other businesses, what we call B2B companies, the research needs are quite diverse. These companies have complex ecosystems, occupied by many, many businesses interacting with them and around them. They have parent companies, subsidiaries, joint-ventures, strategic partnerships, channel (selling) partners, suppliers and customers. They also have banks, advisors and analysts that they work with or who cover their company. Of course, they also have complex competitive relationships.  B2B companies need to have deep insights and information on all these ecosystem relationships, how these companies intersect, interact and ultimately impact each other. Much of this need for information is fulfilled by the various types of B2B research that can be done across this vast ecosystem.

The primary type of research that B2B companies conduct focuses on current and potential customers. One of the more complex elements of this type of research is identifying and qualifying the most important and influential buyers for a given product or service. When you consider that most businesses today are global in nature, extending a research study to other regions of the world adds even more complexity. Understanding the key differences that exist within each global market and how to target your current and potential customers in that market requires a research partner with the right experience and expertise. 

Businesses need to gather data globally to understand the needs and preferences of current and potential customers. This can be done through various methods such as surveys, focus groups, and in-depth interviews. By understanding the specific needs within a target market, businesses can develop brand, product and service strategies that better meet the needs of the market and increase their own chances of success.

Another important complexity surrounding B2B market research is the extent to which industry trends are impacting companies operating within that industry. These trends can include data related to market size, growth rates, product or service innovation, and which companies are leading in their respective industries. Industry trends are critical to consider when designing, fielding and analyzing data for any type of research being done within an industry ecosystem.  By keeping track of these trends, businesses can better identify opportunities for growth and develop strategies to stay competitive.

B2B market research is ultimately about finding ways to help your company and brand create advantage in the market and find success in a complex and highly competitive landscape. With the right research and market research partner, businesses can make informed decisions about how to position their products or services and how to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Overall, B2B market research is a critical tool for businesses looking to succeed in today’s highly competitive business environment. By gathering and analyzing data on potential customers, industry trends, and the competitive landscape, businesses can make informed decisions that help them grow and succeed. B2B companies and their respective industries are complex; make sure you choose a research partner that has the relevant knowledge your industry and the expertise to design, field, analyze and deliver the insights you need.