How B2B Market Research Methods Can Help FMCG Companies
The FMCG industry has traditionally been a business-to-consumer, or B2C, driven industry. However, there is much to be gained when FMCG companies evaluate their business-to-business, or B2B, opportunities through strategic market research.
B2B Market Research
Basic B2C market research begins with an analysis of the market, followed by qualitative and/or quantitative research into the target customer. In contrast, B2B market research establishes a benchmark through competitor analysis of the market in addition to quantitative research, with researchers then engaging in qualitative methods such as expert interviews. By focusing on expert interviewees and potential clients B2B market research gathers insightful data from relatively small sample sizes and leverages the results to analyse the market.
Characteristics of B2B methods include:
- Mix methodologies to capture large data sets
- Email, phone and web surveys
- Small samples weighted towards experts
- In-depth interviews to gather expert insight.
Unlike B2C methods, B2B methodologies do not frequently use focus groups. Participants of B2B market research may have conflicting interests if gathered as a focus group, with some potentially being direct competitors. To use the data from these sessions may compromise the insights should a participant not speak candidly or exaggerate their responses.
How can these methods provide value to FMCG companies?
B2B methods have the potential to help FMCG companies by approaching the research objectives through an alternative audience, gathering insight into the whole product journey and supply chain.
Some of the key insights and outcomes uncovered from this type of market research include:
- Identifying key competitors in the marketplace
- Gauging client awareness of the current product portfolio
- Discovering key differentiators
- Emerging trends in the marketplace
- Identifying key sales opportunities
- Client perceptions/feedback
- Discovering why clients chose another competitor
- Demonstrating care through eliciting opinions/feedback from clients
- Gauging opportunity to enter a new market.
Maximising the Value Chain
By taking a B2B approach to market research FMCG companies also benefit from analysing their value chain. By completing market research into the value chain, the FMCG companies can ensure their end-users receive their products in the most seamless and efficient way.
Many FMCG companies that complete in-house research gather information through surveying their distributors. However, this research yields very little insight as distributors are usually too far removed from the final consumer. Comprehensive B2B market research should include manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and service providers.
Through evaluating the whole chain, market research firms can highlight blind spots the FMCG company may not have been aware of and suggest strategies to maximise efficiencies in all areas of the chain.
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