Traditionally, the B2B food market such as food services has been an opaque market. This includes indirect deliveries by wholesalers, no Nielsen, IRI or GfK figures for the entire market, different data sources that lack structure, such as conversation records in your CRM or separate emails. And what about those countless Excel sheets circulating all over the company that surely contain valuable information. And on top of that, how do you reach professionals in the B2B food market? Here we are talking about chefs, buyers or bakers, for example. At GROUP7, we have very good reasons for all the research we do in this market.
You can use market research for a variety of reasons. Hereunder 7 reasons to do so:
1. To gather information on the needs and preferences of your target audience.
If you understand what your customers want, your company can adjust its products or services to better meet these needs and increase customer satisfaction. The types of research you might see here include driver, category and decision tree research. For example, with decision tree research, you measure how your target audience makes their decisions in your category. Who or what are the influencing factors, how does your target audience browse wholesaler webshops, what channels do they use and more. Knowing this will help you use the right content on the right channels to influence your target audience. It also lets you know what the moments of truth are in the decision process for your category.
2. Assess the feasibility of a new product or service.
Market research can help you determine whether there is demand for a new product or service, and if so, how much of a demand there is. This could include concept testing or a price indicator. What is your target audience willing to pay for your innovation?
3. Evaluate the effectiveness of marketing campaigns
Market research can help determine whether a marketing campaign has been effective and what adjustments are needed to improve the results. Let’s take a new brand or new product as an example. You do a baseline survey before the campaign and an initial follow-up survey after the campaign, or after one year. The results present a clear picture of what you have achieved with your campaign(s) and whether you may need to make adjustments.
4. Back up decisions with hard data
Market research can help companies back up their decisions with reliable data, increasing their chances of success. You need input in order to create your annual marketing and sales plans. You need to be able to base your budget on something. This could be through research such as a distribution measurement or a brand tracker. We use the brand tracker to measure your brand awareness and image, as well as to compare this with other brands and category values. In fact, if your business is in vegetables, you will probably automatically have a greener image. We then do this again once a year to track the progression.
5. Identify market trends
Market research can help a company stay on top of trends and changes in the industry, which in turn can contribute to the strategic decision-making process. Conducting regular research will help you discover trends and shifts in the market, which will ultimately help you with product development, with discovering new USPs as well as with campaigns.
6. Gaining a competitive advantage
Understanding the market and its needs can help a company stand out from its competitors and position itself as an industry leader. If you know more than your competitor, and you leverage that knowledge, you will be in a better position to plan, to be a stronger partner for your customers and to be more successful.
7. Measure customer satisfaction
Conducting regular market research allows a company to measure customer satisfaction and make improvements if necessary. Ideally, the customer lifecycle should be as long as possible. We also call this the loyalty loop. When you have a lot of loyal customers, it’s easier to maintain your volumes and margins. And since they are already fans of yours, it’s also easier for you sell them your new products.
Of course, it’s also possible to take a ‘just do it’ approach to everything. We are certainly in favour of trying things out, testing and learning, but our starting point is evidence-based. There is nothing more frustrating than finding out in retrospect that your introduction or campaign did not go well because you had the wrong insight. Or that your company thought the number one segment was mid-sized restaurants, only to find out that there was no need or no market for your brand or product. Or you are probably familiar with the case of launches in Europe – your fancy product name might just mean something slightly different in, Italian, for example. Can you imagine how much it would cost to start from scratch again, when it all could have easily been avoided with a bit of research.
Why conduct research with GROUP7?
We have years of B2B food and research experience, which means we can help you translate your business to your target audience, creating questions that are reader-friendly, understandable to respondents, and that deliver what you want to know.
We don’t ask any unnecessary questions: We work together with you to come up with the best set of questions. Our reports are clear and can be used right away in internal presentations or with customers. This helps you make decisions and substantiate them based on facts.
We help you translate the results into effective marketing and sales plans and help you achieve them by deploying GROUP7 experts in activation, marketing automation, campaign management, CRM and sales.
For this process, we use customised quantitative and qualitative research. We can even do quantitative customisation across Europe for you.
What companies do we work with in terms of research? These companies include FrieslandCampina, Vandemoortele, Bonduelle, McCain, Arla, Signature Foods, La Lorraine, Van Geloven, Solucious, Pietercil and many others. In the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as internationally throughout Europe.
Read more about how we accomplish that in the following article.