B2B audience are harder to engage - simply put. Recruiting members for B2B communities tends to be more challenging than B2C because of specific qualifications needed in order to become a member. It is also more difficult to recruit professionals such as C-level executives, business owners, etc. as they tend to have less free time to do online research. Typically, B2B communities have around 1,000 members or less.
As a result B2B members generally do not participate in any kind of studies, unless it is about a product or service that is integral to the success of their job.
It is incumbent upon the insights team to communicate and then prove the value of responding (I.E being clear about the intent and sharing back results).
Although they have their challenges, there are many benefits to running a B2B Insight Community. Read on to learn more!
If you look at a typical cost profile for an ad-hoc B2B research project what you’ll find is that a large portion of the budget is dedicated to:
- Finding the people
- Convincing participants to take part in the survey
There are specialty online panels that can provide this sample for certain categories, however, typically these panels are too generic. Also, costlier telephone or face-to-face research techniques are still used far more to reach business respondents than to reach consumers. As a result, you may be looking at considerable ad-hoc research costs if you are going to conduct B2B primary research in this way.
When you look at conducting B2B research with an insight community, typically there is a big upfront investment:
- Building the online environment
However once you have completed these steps, then you have a permanently available group of willing participants with whom you can engage cost effectively.
Typically, we would measure the turnaround time of an ad-hoc B2B research project in weeks. We would spend time designing the approach, then we would run the fieldwork and the recruitment. If data is gathered face-to-face or by telephone, there is data integration before we can analyse and report. Being generous, this process could take around six weeks.
For typical B2B Insight Community projects, we would measure turnaround times in days. Questionnaire design and online programming take the same amount of time. You may only need to leave a survey open for three or four days to get the majority of the answers that you want. Best practice is to leave that fieldwork open so that people who want to participate can do so but typically you’ll find the majority of responses to any survey or discussion will come in the first few days. This allows you to have indicative results available almost immediately.
The final advantage of Insight Communities in a B2B setting is quality. Membership in a community does not necessarily guarantee better insights or more engaged members. However, when managed in the right way, community members are typically more engaged and more committed in their desire to give meaningful feedback. In B2B communities, you have very deep profiles of members which enable you to understand much more about their organizations, their job roles, and how their businesses work. You are also able to track this data over the longer term. Given this longitudinal understanding, something that was asked six months ago doesn’t need to be asked again unless it has changed. A lack of repetition ensures greater engagement in a community environment.
To learn more about the benefits of Insight Communities in general, see this post.