Market research in the B2B space is often overlooked or, at best, done poorly. But speaking to your customer is the best way to direct every step of marketing and sales. Market research helps you move beyond assumptions and create a marketing strategy that will be effective. Christian Klepp shares how to do just that in this episode of The Content Callout.
Christian Klepp is the Co-Founder/Director of Client Engagement at EINBLICK Consulting, a Toronto-based B2B Tech SaaS and services marketing company. He also hosts B2B Marketers on a Mission.
Outline of This Episode
- [0:58] Christian’s 3 rapid-fire marketing tips
- [1:32] Why you should niche down—and how
- [5:41] The importance of B2B market research
- [9:24] Go-to questions for customer conversations
- [12:22] Don’t neglect secondary research
- [14:53] How to lead with authority and expert positioning
- [23:39] Don’t be afraid to take a stand within your industry
- [26:28] How to build a personal brand to make an impact
- [32:50] Where to reach out to Christian to have a conversation
The importance of B2B market research
If you look at a piece of content that a marketer or content writer developed, you can tell if they’ve never spoken to a customer. How can you tell? They don’t look at it through the lens of a prospect. A prospect isn’t going to read content about product features, attributes, and proprietary information.
Ron Tite is known for saying, “The customer is most likely to say ‘shut up and solve my problem.’” People care about how you’re going to help them and what’s in it for them. Market research enables you to keep a finger on the pulse of the market. And if you’re looking for a way to market to a strategic voice, this is the way to do it.
Marketing can’t be based on assumptions
Many companies work on assumptions from sales, senior management, etc., about market trends and customer behavior. But most assumptions are either outdated or haven’t been properly validated with research (i.e., talking to the customer).
Look at how much has changed in global markets in the last 2–3 years. Can we work on the same assumptions from 5–10 years ago? No.
Secondly, there’s a lot of competition out there. The market is getting saturated. How are you going to have a competitive advantage without conducting market research? It’s not just talking to customers but understanding what’s changed within your ecosystem. How do you as a company adjust? How should sales adjust their approach?
Go-to questions for customer conversations
What are you hoping to gain? Why are you doing the market research? What’s the end game? What are your objectives?
It’s one thing to conduct the research and gather data and insight, but what do you plan to do with it? B2B market research is only as good as what you intend to use the information for. Are you talking to customers to understand why they chose you?
- What made you the qualified vendor?
- What do they like?
- What collaboration works?
- Where can you improve?
Even if the results are things you don’t want to hear, you need to have these conversations to improve and grow. You can get more granular from there:
- What’s changed in the buying process?
- What are they looking for?
- What are they currently mandated to do?
It also helps to understand the role their business plays in their ecosystem. You’re likely dealing with a buying committee. Each stakeholder has different roles in different parts of the process. The buying process in B2B is anything but linear. At best, it’s haphazard. It’s not a simple funnel structure. That realization is important.
Don’t neglect secondary market research
Secondary market research involves looking at the competitive ecosystem and external factors analysis. Depending on what industry you’re in, government legislation, the passing of laws, etc., can impact your business. From a macroeconomic perspective, you also have to consider the global supply chain nightmare.
For example, Amazon conducted research and came up with its own approach to dealing with global supply chain problems. They purchased their own containers in China and re-routed ships to ports that weren’t as busy. Instead of docking in Long Beach, they went up to Washington State. Ships docking at Long Beach or Malibu are waiting at sea for 2–3 weeks, minimum.
Technology development and AI also come into play. They can anticipate which stock will yield the highest demand, so they’ll start ordering more of that. At surface level, it may not feel directly relevant. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s important to consider a macro perspective.
How do you build a B2B brand with authority and expertise? Why should you niche down, and how should you do it? Listen to the whole discussion with Christian to learn more.