Yes, really – and no we don’t get out much!
Industrial market research has challenges:
- Understanding the technology, business issues and translating these into specific research objectives that address the business need is critical
- Markets, products, the language used and routes to market are frequently complex and diverse
- The people you need to secure information from can be hard to identify, busy and are invariably difficult to reach
- Sample sizes tend to be small, so every interview must add value and insight
- Accuracy and reliability are essential given the importance of the decisions that are to be made on the back of the research
- Industrial organisations frequently don’t deal with the ultimate consumer so understanding routes to market, the supply chain and what matters to each element of it is often key
In truth none of this is new and industrial market research has always had to deal with these issues but, what has changed, is the exponential development of online panels and the technology we use to reach decision makers. By knowing how, where and when (and when not to) use online panels we are able to reach decision-makers and this transformed the way we work, what we can deliver and the timescales we can deliver it in.
Typically, the industrial research we conduct fits into one of the following categories:
- Brand – The attributes associated with an organisation, how it’s positioned in a market and the competitive landscape.
- Market opportunity – Understanding the scale of an opportunity and the unmet needs that need to be addressed to capitalise on it.
- Product development – Innovation and product introduction based on grounded insight rather than a hunch is invariably better (although there’s nothing wrong with hunches).
- Customer satisfaction and retention – With no direct access to the ultimate consumer this can be complicated but it’s critical, it needs to be objective and understand the drivers of dissatisfaction.
- Merger and acquisition – Research as part of due diligence can uncover a great deal that profit and loss accounts fail to show.
- Segmentation – Identifying different sectors and what is important to each is increasingly critical for targeting and content creation.
- Channel – Invariably qualitative in nature channel research helps to identify the issues that really matter to partners and how they position you to customers – sometimes they’re your key advocate.
Industrial areas we’ve worked in include: Fork lift trucks, the industrial internet of things, energy consumption, aerospace, automotive, control systems and logistics.