Six Market Research Studies B2C Companies Should Perform
B2C (business-to-consumer) companies are vying for the attention of consumers all of the time. They have to make an incredible number of strategic decisions every day about what products they should introduce and how to bring them to market. Getting any one of these decisions could mean failure, making each of these decisions critical inflection points for B2C companies.
However, making market research part of this decision process gives B2C companies more chances of success. By using data-based approaches to help make these key decisions, B2C companies can use actual market dynamics to guide their moves. This gives them a leg up above the competition and makes them more likely to succeed.
Let’s look at six different types of market research studies B2C companies should be leveraging across major strategic decision points.
1. Market Landscape Reviews
Established B2C companies often look to new markets and new customer sets as a chance to grow their businesses. While these new market entries are exciting, they are riddled with risk. Performing competitive audits and market landscape reviews helps mitigate those risks.
These are far reaching studies, doing everything from measuring customer sentiment to assessing the relative strengths of products currently in those markets. These types of studies generally take form via surveys, interviews, or focus groups and help B2C companies get a broad lay of the competitive land. They help organizations isolate exactly where the best market opportunities lie while helping them pinpoint hyper competitive spaces to avoid.
2. Customer Persona Or Segmentation Studies
A major decision B2C companies must make when they take a product to market is exactly who to target as their customer. This doesn’t just mean basic demographics of a customer like age or gender but also deeper psychographic information to more completely understand who the ideal target really is.
Customer persona or segmentation studies help B2C companies get to this level of nuance. These tend to be survey-based studies with a very large sample size of customers that actively purchase from the product category. Fairly long in length, these surveys capture a wide range of information about customers themselves as well as their perspectives about the category as a whole and specific brands within the category.
This very large data set goes through a series of statistical processes to isolate unique personas or customer segments that exist with the specific population. The wealth of data captured during the survey process lets businesses understand the variances across these unique groups and select the target they think is best for them.
3. New Product Concept Screens
To stay fresh and current, B2C companies have to keep producing and launching new products and services. However, no company has the resources to launch all of the new ideas that come to mind. Fielding new product concept screens help B2C companies get high-level reads on product and service ideas that have the highest chance of performing well.
This type of study is fairly straightforward. Companies can show an extremely flushed out idea via surveys, interviews or focus groups, and then ask respondents to answer a series of questions to gauge interest, intent, and relevance. Or, they could show multiple, higher-level ideas to get more basic reads on product preference. By performing these types of product tests, B2C companies can measure which products have the greatest market appeal and therefore which ones warrant their time and money for further development.
4. Product Or Feature Optimization Studies
Many B2C products could offer a wide variety of features or benefits. But, companies may not be able to offer all of them in any signal product. Either it’s not feasible or it’s cost prohibitive. Because of this, it’s valuable to recognize exactly what features customers really want and what features are simply nice-to-haves. Product and feature optimization studies let B2C companies understand this balance.
There are many different types of optimization studies B2C companies could leverage. A commonly used approach called MaxDiff requires participants to select their “most” and “least” favorite features from a very large list. When this is done multiple times across many respondents, companies can see how respondents make trade-offs and how they prioritize those features.
A more complex type of prioritization study, called a conjoint analysis, lets you test different combinations or product feature bundles. By running this type of study, B2C companies can see the ideal mix of features or benefits that would drive the greatest purchase intent.
5. Price Sensitivity Research
A key part of taking any product to market is deciding exactly what price you will charge. However, most organizations don’t know what they should charge. They want a price point that customers will accept but also one that will help them build strong profits.
This juggling act is a reason B2C companies should consider price elasticity or sensitivity studies when launching products. These studies help companies measure the impact of different price points on the likelihood of customers buying a specific product. Companies can test different price points across a wide spectrum, letting them see exactly where the sweet spot is, and also where they’ll likely get a big drop off in customer interest. This type of research also lets companies gauge how changing their price point can help them attract customers that buy from other brands.
6. Advertising Resonance Research
Once B2C companies decide what product to launch and at what price point, they then need to make sure customers know about it and are excited to buy it. This means putting aside a budget for advertising. However, advertising is really expensive, meaning companies want to make sure they are spending their advertising budget wisely.
Advertising resonance research helps B2C companies make wise advertising decisions. With this study, respondents are shown different ad creatives and then asked a series of questions about them. By asking these questions across many different types of creatives, B2C companies can measure which ads have the greatest impact.
What type of research is the best for B2C companies? This can be an uncertain question, which is why using a market research firm to guide and execute research is often a wise idea. These are organizations that are skilled at understanding business challenges, identifying opportunities, and advising on the best research path forward. Using market research firms is a time-tested way to guide major B2C decisions and help companies stay competitive.