B2B organisations have always had a natural inclination to expand internationally. With a finite customer base at home and products which can be ‘translated’ with relative ease it makes good sense. And as globalisation continues at a pace, the importance of foreign shores is ever-increasing.
This international dimension has important implications for how market research is conducted and interpreted. In my time I’ve run research projects in dozens of countries so thought I’d share a few pointers for those about to embark on an international B2B research study.
What you see isn’t always what you get.
Horse meat in our Findus Crispy Pancakes. Sub-prime mortgages hidden within bundles of triple-A rated loans. Dodgy surveys parading as fact.
This deception – whether intentional or accidental – has far-reaching repercussions. In the case of faulty research it can lead to sub-optimal decisions and missed opportunities. And it’s an easy mistake to make. Statistics carry a sense of authority and it seems counter-intuitive to challenge the statement that ‘customers told us’. But challenge we should.
Spring. As birds migrate north to secure nesting ground, gaggles of marketers flock to secure budget for their marketing plans.
The most fruitful of these plans are built on customer insights. But insights into what exactly?
Here are three things that would top my list.
Warning. Market research can be bad for your health.
It can actively hurt business performance by drawing misleading conclusions. Conclusions which fail to consider the full picture, which focus on the obvious rather than delving deep or which are simply based on faulty information. The result is bad decisions.
A marketer’s our raison d’etre is to understand people and influence their behaviour. And for the majority of agencies supporting marketers, people are essentially what they’re selling – their time, their expertise and the experience they create for clients.
So if you’re building a marketing team or running an agency, motivating and retaining the best people is critical.
But what’s the secret?