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How to do Business Marketing Research

Wojtek Jeżowski

June 26, 2023

Table of Content

"Know your audience," "Be customer-centric," "Focus on your client," and the list of amazing tips and tricks for marketers goes on and on. Especially nowadays, on Linkedin or other social platforms, you are bombarded with carousel posts on how to hack your B2B marketing. The first thing on the list is usually, you guessed it... focusing on your customer. 

Yes, to make truly engaging B2B content, whatever it may be, it should be aligned with what your target audience is looking for. What you need is accurate B2B market research.

But...it's a little vague, don't you think? However noble and accurate this tip may be. But what does that mean? How to find and describe the right target market? In this article, I've briefly outlined how to perform primary and secondary research and why marketing research is important for your B2B marketing strategies... and finding your target audience.


Research business research...

Well, let's unpack it, shall we? Knowing your audience is mainly.... research. You have to understand what they need, their pain points, etc. As with anything in life, there are multiple ways of doing it.

So let's jump into the list of tips and tricks on how to do marketing research in B2B. Usually on a budget. Dabbling only just a bit can even improve your sales and marketing strategies to give you a competitive advantage and help to make the right business decisions.

Talk to your sales team.

If you have a sales team in your organization, they are usually the most knowledgeable about your customer needs. So, in my opinion, you should first go and ask how they landed and closed deals. They are a trove of insight into the buying process. Plus, if you are lucky, you might get to know why marketing sucks :)

This is a great way to start your journey with primary research. You'll get a lot of qualitative data, so you'll have to put in the effort to analyze it. A good bet is to record those conversations and have some AI tool transcribe them for you. If you are too scared to talk to sales, another good bet is the customer success team.

Let's Google it.

Ah, the mother of market research. Free (usually) third-party data. If you don't have a sales team or are just starting out with a brand or product, the best way to find information about the market and build your ICP is to... google. Yes. Google the shit out of your target audience. At some point, you'll have to provide your email to gain access to market research reports, but usually, they are worth it.

Most importantly, however, please don't forget about forums and closed groups (Quora works too). Find the ones your target audience might be using and lurk around. You may encounter frustrated users who are more than happy to spill their pain points in threads for free.   Dark Social is a thing and it does work.

Third-party reports.

Some analytics organizations like Gartner, for example, give away free reports occasionally. So be sure to check in on them from time to time. Media agencies also post the results of surveys on their blogs. They are smaller in scope but often have some unique insight. These are usually gold for B2B market research.

Most of the time, you'll find quantitative data. How many % of buyers do this or consider that. For example, how many buyers don't want to interact with sales on their buying journey. You can discover some amazing results, but please be weary of the data collection and analysis methods.

Declarative surveys are the most dubious. The person in question answers about what they think they will or what they consider important. But when push comes to shove they might act differently.

Buy data.

Don't have the time or resources to conduct your own market research? No worries. Those analytics organizations I mentioned earlier? Gartner? IDC? Foundry? They have tonnes of valuable data and are eager to sell it to you... but in a yearly subscription that usually exceeds your entire marketing budget. But then again, the data will be on point, and you'll have a known brand supporting it.

Hire researchers.

This is for those who want to have their own data sets. The marketing industry has been working this way for eons, and the data you will collect is yours. Super tailored to what you are looking for. Focus groups, phone research, large segment surveys? It's all there. You can find freelance researchers for this or big research companies for quantitative and qualitative data. A good starting point is $10k for this kind of service.

Do the B2B market research by yourself.

Yes, you could be the one performing market research. You could contact dozens, hundreds, or thousands of potential customers, interview them, and send questionnaires. After that get dirty with statistical analysis. But you have to ask yourself one question. Do you have time for this? You do? Great! Even if you talk to a few people, you might find some kick-ass insight to propel your marketing strategy to new levels.

Qualitative research vs quantitative research

Another thing worth mentioning is the distinction between qualitative (qual) and quantitative (quant) data.  

Qual = quality (duh!) This means focus groups or one on one interviews. This takes time. You won't be able to test many people, but you can measure a lot... even their brain reactions to different brand visuals if you are into that stuff.

Quant = quantity (no way!) This means you gather data from many people, but with little or no interaction, usually through impersonal questionnaires and tests. This, however, will give you a glimpse into the entire market, category, vertical, group, etc. Moreover, you can put it into a spreadsheet and come up with correlations and pretty cool graphs for your boss.

Talk to your customers

Now, you must do... you. Of course, you know what you need and what you can afford. But the most effective B2B market research you can pull off is to... talk to your target customers. Even talking with one or two customers who bought into your brand and asking them "why" will put you lightyears ahead of brands who just assume what their customers want. Getting feedback from your potential customers is one of the best market research tools.

Now if you want to learn how to do your own research or even hire a freelancer, I can't recommend Ryan Paul Gibson enough.

I went through his DIY course, "Running customers interviews that Don't suck, " and surprisingly, I can now run customer interviews that don't suck.

What's next? Get in touch with us, and let's start creating compelling B2B videos today to take your client engagement to new heights.