It was Peter Drucker who famously commented that: “business has only two functions – marketing and innovation”.

Go under the hood of any successful small business in the business to business sector and you’ll find them on a curve of continuous improvement and innovation. According to the UK department of Business, Innovation and Skills, “Nearly two-thirds of all commercial innovations originate in small companies”. Good to hear because in the current climate, it has never been more important for small businesses to be fanatical about enhancing existing products and services and introducing new ones.

Accompanying these laudable strategies is the potential to waste money and huge sums of it when in fact a small quantity of squeaky clean, targeted and carefully chosen data could prevent this from happening…

Let’s imagine for a moment you’ve decided to introduce a new service. You steam ahead and implement this service without doing any market research. You’re at risk of bringing a service to market with insufficient demand to make it profitable. It can be straightforward to dot the I’s and cross the T’s when the service you are introducing is aimed squarely at existing customers. You already have your market research group and should take full advantage of it. A good quality survey, some focus groups, in-depth one to ones, a stream of telephone interviews and at the end of this process your existing customers have told you pretty much what you need to know about either bringing this new service to market or, mothballing it because it’s a dud.

But what if you’re aiming at a new target audience, an audience you’ve not targeted before? Should you steam ahead and introduce the service then buy your business to business list of prospects that closely fit the profile of customers you’re looking for and begin marketing with a vengeance?

Well you can, but you should be using business to business data – small targeted mailing lists in your market research phase as well as rolling out with the bigger lists in your promotional marketing phase.

A word of warning; it’s not always possible for you to be precise about your target audience when introducing new services to a new audience. By way of example a business may believe that accountants of all sizes are their target audience and this may be so. Before arriving at this conclusion however, they should buy a small list of accountants segmented into different sizes, for their market research. The research may reveal for example a high demand from medium-sized accountancy practices but no demand from one partner practices. Armed with the results from these telephone surveys etc the business can buy a much bigger list for their launch campaign knowing that each accountancy practice represents the profile of the genuinely interested accountants they interviewed as part of their market research and not the smaller practices that were disinterested.

Consider your existing customers too. Are there enough for your market research?

Related Topics: Business Data & Lists