B2B 3

FEATURE20 October 2017

A business mindset

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B2B Features Impact UK

Understanding the motivations of a business audience requires particular research skills – and it is often less about market research and more about solving a business problem. By Tim Phillips.

B2B market research is, in many ways, a world unto itself. Clients may not have their own research expertise, or even much marketing nous – “the marketers we deal with tend to be ex-engineers”, sighed one research provider. Respondents are hard to recruit and validate. Some methods work less well or not at all. Budgets are smaller, and you might end up in a testy stand-off with a powerful sales director if you challenge the conventional wisdom. 

Clearly, this isn’t the sort of research challenge that everyone would relish. But beneath the operational and methodological problems, there’s the opportunity to work directly with senior management, genuinely to influence strategy, and become a valued long-term part of the client’s business. In short, everything researchers want – but too rarely get – from their careers.

“In B2B, you need to influence a board of directors. We rarely deal with insight directors, so the buyers of our research are non-technical; they ...