Business-to-business research

Please explain and provide a comparison of Business-to-Business Research versus Consumer Research.

Business-to Business (B2B) research is a research often targets respondents based on job title or job function, size of employer, input on purchases, and other selective items. For example, a business-to-business market research survey might target small business owners with 25 to 100 employees who are final decision makers on purchases of accounting software. In comparison, consumer research surveys often target a balanced sampling of a survey population (such as Malaysia population in a nationwide survey or a designated market area for a geographic selection) or select demographics such as household income, age, education level, or gender.

A simple rule to follow - - the higher the respondent's income level and/or job title, the larger the award needed to entice survey participation. This discrepancy in award amounts is magnified as the length of the survey increases beyond 10 minutes. For example, a 20-minute online survey might require a $5.00 award for participation by a stay-at-home parent but a $15.00 award or higher might be needed for a senior executive at a large company.

Also entering into the cost equation (and level of difficulty) is the limited number of survey panelists and online research panels with pre-identified business information about their sign-ups. Put differently, almost all online research panels have extensive profiles of consumer sign-ups, but very few have business profiles of these same individuals and/or have a limited number of consumer panelists who are also high-level business professionals.

For example, many B2B market research projects require a mix of different employer sizes or the targeting of specific employer size - often defined by company revenues or the number of employees, or both. Not only do employees frequently change jobs, but also the size of employers can change significantly in the current economic environment. An analogy would be a consumer market research project that targets high net worth participants. In the past, net worth profiles have been quite reliable and rarely change. However, in today's economic climate, many individuals have experienced significant declines in net worth.

In summary, B2B market research studies are generally far more difficult and expensive to conduct when compared to consumer research studies. The reasons for this are the need for higher incentives to entice participation by business professionals, the lack of available sample for business-to-business market research, and the frequently changing profiles of business professionals as compared to participants in consumer market research panels.

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