Knowledge about your target market is indispensable in B2B. Targeted market research helps you identify, reach and ultimately convince your target group. But how exactly do you identify your target group? In this blog post, we will provide you with a more detailed insight into the customer world of B2B marketing and explain it in more detail.
Knowing how users perceive your product or service is essential in B2B marketing. Market research is the key to this knowledge, because through user surveys as well as detailed market research in your target market, you will learn far more than through surveys of your own customers. Especially when large budgets are at stake, it is negligent to proceed without a targeted marketing and customer strategy.
The Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon defines market research as follows:
“Market research is the systematically conducted investigation of a specific sub-market (coincidence of supply and demand), including the recording of the needs of all participants, drawing primarily on external sources of information.”
Market research therefore tells you what the situation, behaviour and needs are in your target market. These insights not only help with product development and investments, but also contribute to the creation of strategic and effective marketing concepts for your target group. In content marketing, we go one step further and use so-called buyer personas. What is meant by this and how you can use this model for your business is explained in this article.
But to what extent can this be applied in B2B marketing?
– Of course, at least with online measures, we can evaluate a wide variety of key figures and draw possible conclusions – but in B2B in particular, there is often a lack of direct measuring points. We also don’t know whether the target group was persuaded by the design and address of the advertising or rather by the product specifics. Often B2B target groups are very complex and cannot be reached through online marketing and SEO alone.
As a result, they are still more likely to obtain information through specialist media or to use complex content such as white papers or specialist books. This means that online marketers can hardly collect KPIs on the usage behaviour of this important target group.
In addition, it is possible to control an entire campaign through market research. This is used to identify connections between anonymous and digital key figures, quantitative and qualitative feedback from the target group, as well as to carry out a sound analysis of the respective campaign objective of your company.
To identify your B2B customers, you first need to consider which market you want to operate in. In content marketing, the principle of “less is more” applies. Those who manage to define their target group precisely and tailor all communication to this target group will ultimately be more successful than companies that try to please everyone. From a scientific point of view, target groups can be divided into different segments.
– The socio-demographic target group (age, gender, education)
– Target group based on behavioural characteristics (regular customers, first-time buyers)
– Target group based on psychological characteristics (innovation-oriented, security-oriented)
– Target group based on media-oriented characteristics (users determine media)
The secret: don’t focus on company characteristics, but on the characteristics of the crucial people in that company.
This way you can create a target group that defines your ideal customers based on certain measurable characteristics. When targeting, select all those characteristics that your potential customers have in common.
Let’s assume that your organisation has already defined its target group. But over the years, organisational forms change, new roles emerge, old ones fall away, decision-making competences shift, for example from a technician to a controller.
This kind of information is crucial for their marketing and is often not picked up by systems.
If this information is not picked up by your system, you continue to wastefully advertise to the wrong customer segment.
What do you know about the typical composition of the buying centres of your target industries? With market research regarding the composition of buying centres or decision-making in your target industry, conducted every ten years for example, you can identify these shifts much more consciously or even systematically.
In many cases, sales activities are primarily geared towards approaching and acquiring new customers. New target groups are to be opened up, potential new customers are to be reached via as many sales channels as possible and as many deals as possible are to be concluded with first-time buyers.
This strategy is of course understandable. After all, new customers have the chance to make more extensive purchases, while existing customers tend to supplement their existing products or buy accessories and consumables.
However, it is often overlooked that the effort required to generate sales is much lower with regular customers than with new customers. Therefore, the sales department is well advised to care for and nurture its existing customers in order to retain them permanently and to be able to welcome them as loyal customers in the long term.
Finally, we would like to give you 5 tips for intensifying your B2B customer care.
Whether it is the name recognition of the customer, small attentions or individual consultations tailored to the customer, all this influences a positive relationship with the regular customers.
Regular updates on new findings, projects, etc.
Thanks to customer data and order history, there is usually quite a lot of information available about regular customers. Sales should use this information for targeted approaches. Instead of sending standard emails to regular customers, for example, they can be given offers and product suggestions that are tailored to their needs and preferences.
In small businesses, it is often quite easy to provide individual attention to regular b2b customers. For one thing, long-standing customers are usually known personally here, and for another, the procedures and processes in small companies are often not strictly standardised.
Multi-layered contact management
Sales should check which company departments are involved with the products and maintain contacts with contact persons from all these departments and company divisions. At the same time, sales can put together an individual offer portfolio if they know what the needs are in the individual company divisions.
Regularly update regular customer data
There should be a lot of meaningful information about your b2b customers who have been loyal customers for years and who make regular purchases. Due to many years of cooperation, regular customers are well known and much information is taken for granted. This data should definitely be passed on to new employees so that the customer relationship is not negatively affected by the change of employees.
Read also our blog post on B2B marketing: