Rigorous Quantitative B-to-B Research in Technology – Now You Can!

The challenge with quantitative research in Technology

Doing quantitative research in the IT world is, as you probably know, quite challenging. The main reason is that the people you may want to talk to or get feedback from – usually senior IT executives, IT leaders and decision makers of fortune 2000 companies- are extremely hard or expensive to recruit. This becomes even more difficult when you try to recruit against specific criteria such as IT spent, position, revenue, attitudinal criteria, etc.

Most research firms can’t deliver

This is what we found out recently -and solved for- at First The Trousers Then The Shoes Inc, a brand research, strategy and innovation firm, when one of our clients – an international B-to-B software firm- asked us to help them find a market research partner able to do a quantitative brand tracking study in the US and Europe. In our search, we identified and talked to a variety of research firms, none of which was able to give us what this client needed at a reasonable cost and in a timely manner:

  1. Global research firms, very familiar with global tracking research, but usually for consumer goods, that would charge several hundred thousands dollars and take 3 to 4 months without guarantee of being able to recruit the right audience (and thankfully being upfront about it).
  2. Smaller research firms that do custom recruiting. While these are often able to identify the right audience, they usually struggle getting to a sample size that is large enough for a quantitative study. So they are great for qualitative research but not for quant.
  3. Online recruiting agencies that claim to be able to recruit the right audience, but that do not provide the research experience required to carry out a quantitative survey.

Not being able to find what our client needed, we decided to see if we could pull it off ourselves at a reasonable cost and fast. All we needed, was the right quantitative research expertise (which luckily we had) and a recruiting agency that could help us recruit these hard to get senior IT executives in large enough numbers (which we found after a lot of digging). And we needed to find a way to do it quickly and at a cost that made sense (paying $150K per country for a global tracking study just doesn’t make financial sense for most companies).

After a bit of digging and networking we found exactly what we needed and where able to put together all the elements needed to run this global tracking study. Within less than a month, over the Christmas Holidays I might add, we were able to carry-out a quantitative tracking study that included both the US and Europe and that measured key metrics from brand penetration & usage, NPS score, brand and marketing awareness,  brand familiarity, source of brand familiarity, key strategic equity measures, etc. etc. The respondents base – over 400 key IT executives at various seniority levels at fortune 2000 companies in the US and Europe – was large and robust enough to allow for quantitative learning and for future benchmarking.

I’ve never seen data like this about our company or our category

The research learning enabled us to quantify for the first time in this client’s history its actual position in the market, thus providing the executive team with a factual decision-making platform for future marketing and communication activities. To quote the CEO after seeing the survey results: “I’ve never seen data like this about our company or our category”.  This one of a kind research confirmed some of the assumptions the executive team had about their business while challenging others, allowing for adjustments in the strategic planning.

Reach out to see if we can help

Obviously, there are still some limitations associated with this type of research, especially for companies that may not have a high penetration, usage rate or awareness levels. However, being able to quantify a brand’s position and strategic intent from the perspective of (potential) customers provides an unmatched level of knowledge and clarity and an extremely strong data platform for strategic decision-making.

If you too are working in the B-to-B technology sector and would like to be able to quantify some of your learning or strategies (whether marketing, brand, products/services or communication) in a timely manner and at a reasonable cost, do not hesitate to contact me @ ulli@first-the-trousers.com.


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