It is rare to find a budget line for market research for b-2-b companies and yet they will invest heavily in new product development and marketing campaigns without testing the market.
Arguably market research should be another high ticket item, but generally it isn't. Typically b-2-b companies regard MR as expensive, they do not traditionally do it and anyway think they already understand the market. A formal MR project can indeed cost several tens of thousands of pounds, but then an R&D project might cost hundreds of thousands so investment in developing and testing the concept first could prove good value compared to a major new product failure. When it comes to marketing communications how many b-2-b companies test the concepts before investing in an expensive advertising campaign or new web site? In fact the brief to the advertising agency should be informed by research in the first place and then the execution of the concepts tested to see if they work before committing to a big media spend. Even if formal and statistically substantiated market research is beyond the scope of the budget, testing and trials with small samples can often provide valuable insight that can influence the marketing communications programme.
A simple telephone questionnaire can often check if your assumptions are on the right track. Even calling a random sample of just a dozen prospects can flag up an issue that may not have been considered or not thought important. For example one company planing a major product launch aimed at encouraging stocking by electrical wholesalers exposed serious delivery problems with existing products over a period of time that needed to be solved first. An online survey can also provide useful information. One company typically spent the biggest share of their marcoms budget on display advertising. But the survey indicated that less than 20% read the market journals at all, with 80% going to web sites for information.
When reviewing the marketing communications budget include some allocation for at least some market research because it can often save wasting investment in other areas.