When it comes to your B2B audience, it’s important that you stay in sync with their needs and preferences. Unfortunately: you’re not psychic (or if you are, you are probably using your abilities for something greater)… the good news though, is that you don’t actually have to be.
You don’t need to pay a fortune (or tell someone’s fortune) to get to know your audience. In other words, you don’t need a massive marketing research department to do the research for you. It’s actually a LOT easier than you think and simply comes from utilising the people you already have.
So if you want the inside scoop on your B2B audience, try implementing some of the following actions:
- Send your existing customers an email survey. Better still, give them some sort of incentive to complete it. People don’t do much for free these days, but they LOVE to win stuff! Got a sample product you were sent from a supplier? Give it away as a prize – and everyone who sends a survey goes in the draw to win.
- Post a survey onto your social media channels and in LinkedIn groups and ask those who respond to share their comments directly in the post. It’s a great way to keep track of the responses.
- Give your customers a call! Sure, it might seem a little old fashioned picking up a phone and talking to someone (I can almost hear you gasp), but it actually works. Your customers are more likely to share invaluable information if they’re talking directly to you, so get some questions together and get talking.
- Use your sales team to gather information. Sales reps aren’t just there to make money, they are your front-line assets and using their abilities can be a highly positive experience. Get the sales team to ask customers a few simple questions whenever they liaise with them; and then have them write down the responses for you. Get them to make it part of the conversation rather than an actual interrogation.
- Read any inquiries you receive via email and phone and keep an eye out for common questions, complaints or information requests. Doing this will help you find out if there are gaps in your current service or product. If more than one person complains about a single aspect, you know it’s time to do something about it. For every 2 people who officially complain, there are 5 more out there thinking it. You’ll also be able to use this data to create new opportunities.
- Keep an eye on upcoming trends and changes in your customer’s preferences by joining industry associations. You’ll be able to keep up to date with the latest expert advice and articles. And considering some of this information is only available to members, signing up is a good idea to stay informed.
- Stalk your competitors… in a perfectly legal sense, of course. Check out their websites, social media, etc; and find out what they are talking and writing about. If they know what they’re doing, they’ll be doing it right – so with any luck, you’ll learn something new about your audience.
- Read books or academic journals. Head to your local library and check out some of the academic research that has been completed in your field. You might even find scholarly articles that include demographic information about your B2B audience.
- Use Google AdWords planner to research the general search terms your target audience are using.
- Get some of your actual customers together for a focus group. Set an agenda and have a list of discussion topics so you don’t head off track. These customers might be able to tell you some new wants or needs you weren’t aware of.
There’s no doubt that finding out who your B2B audience really are, is imperative to marketing success. Research doesn’t have to be an expensive process that breaks the budget; and as we’ve mentioned there are plenty of other ways you can leverage the resources you have already. Give them a try and let us know how you go. We’d love to hear if they did, or didn’t, work for you.