Deciding where and how to grow is a crucial, ongoing decision B2B leaders have to make. But despite its obvious importance, it’s a decision most often guided by instinct, gut feeling, or worst of all, “the way we’ve always done things.”
Sometimes, this is driven by a lack of knowing what you don’t know. Occasionally, it’s internal pressure and rushed timelines. But most of the time, it’s budget. Investing in market research sounds expensive and long term, and your expansion needs are immediate.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are three signs your B2B company might be ready to invest in better market research to optimize your current and future growth efforts.
1. You have a budget for expansion but aren’t sure how to maximize it.
If you have a budget earmarked for expansion, you have a real opportunity to gain or solidify a competitive edge. Deploying this budget is an opportunity you only get once, so it’s important to make it as targeted and impactful as possible. Inferences, hunches and best guesses have no place in this decision-making process. Instead, deploying a market survey of your target audience can tell you exactly who is looking to buy this budget cycle. Qualitative research with your existing clients in an emerging market can tell you what strengths to emphasize or what messages to avoid as you move to improve market penetration. Take a brief, strategic pause to equip yourself with the research and insights you need to maximize your ROI.
2. Your marketing efforts are being “thrown against a wall.”
With the popularization of the term, “A/B testing” came the perception that effective marketing strategy means “testing as you go.” While we’re obsessed with ongoing quality control, an effective strategy is built on a foundation of actionable data. You can’t know everything before you make a decision, but you can (and should) know a lot before you deploy your marketing budget. Then continuous testing can serve the role it was meant to serve – constant QC/QI, not a compass for your entire marketing strategy. We’ve helped clients close data gaps stemming from poor supplier communication, create data-driven closed/won closed/lost categories and refine marketing strategy by talking directly with target audiences. Your job is stressful enough without adding unnecessary mystery to your performance outcomes.
3. You can’t clearly articulate why you’re targeting a particular audience or industry.
Defining your target audience is one of the most important uses of a marketer’s time. But even seasoned pros sometimes struggle to articulate why a particular industry or audience is your focus, and often don’t realize the mistake until resources have been wasted. Take the time now to clarify your target industries by gathering data directly from the source. Research provides clarity on your target demographics and identifies opportunities and misalignments between your offerings and the preferences, capabilities and interest levels of your audience.
Engaging in market research to target your upcoming growth or expansion efforts is an investment not every company can afford, and an investment even fewer companies choose to prioritize. But neglecting market research is the reason nearly every B2B marketing survey in the past decade tells us the same thing – B2B brands are dissatisfied with the performance of their marketing efforts.
At Walker Sands, we’re outcomes-obsessed, which is why we start with research and insights. If any of the above signs resonate with you, contact our team to start a conversation about how data can unlock better business outcomes for your brand.