Thomas Allgeyer, Frenus "There's a huge difference between doing research and doing research the right way"
Your web seminar on May 16th is entitled: Best Practices for Market Insights in B2B within the Innovation & Product Development Process. What do your insights show that we didn't already know?
Thomas Allgeyer: We had the pleasure to accompany many of these development processes of new products and services within the last years for worldwide leading companies. What is very common is the surprise about the depth of information and the way of consolidation and interpretation that is possible to address a broad range of topics and pain points. We´re almost exclusively analyzing markets with lack of information, emerging markets or submarkets in the digital area and having the relevant insights to do the right decisions is a key factor for success.
What do you think is the reason why only half of B2B companies use market, competitor, trend or technology analyses?
Thomas Allgeyer: In my personal experience it´s often a combination of lack of time, time pressure due to shorter development processes and awareness of possibilities provided by market research. Our customers are experts in their business, it´s their home turf, their comfort zone. If they´re lacking time, the analysis of markets, trends, and competition will often be the first thing to get skipped or analyzed superficial. In terms of time pressure in the development process: Especially in the last years development cycles of new products and services got shorter – the analyses of the environment should not slow down the process. Therefore, we often work in a close collaboration within the Sprints – delivering the analyses that are needed with a high speed and built up on this in an iterative approach. We´re talking about deliverables within weeks – not months, and with interim results. Last point is the awareness of possibilities: There´s a huge difference between doing research and doing research the right way - including interpretation and recommendations for actions. Coming from the consulting background we strongly focus on a) digging very deep into it b) precisely consolidating it, and c) validating and interpreting it. On average our analyses consist of 300+ single sources incl. building of hypotheses and validation via expert interviews – this gives great insights - on-point for your strategic decisions.
Is there a golden rule to follow for such analyses?
Thomas Allgeyer: In general, we´re focusing on two methodologies for our analyses: Secondary Research and Expert Interviews. One without the other gives you just half of the result. Especially for Secondary Research never underestimate the amount and type of data that is available – you just need to find it, but this can be very tricky (e.g., Google Search Operators help a lot, Web Scraping, database licenses).
Combining even the smallest puzzle pieces and interpreting them will give you an in-depth analysis with a very high value add.
Additionally, the source mix can vary extremely – flexibility and out of the box thinking is king here, ranging from patent analysis to job offerings, to Google Image search, map analysis, and strategic insights on LinkedIn. Each combination of sources is defined on the specific project needs. After Secondary Research, Expert Interviews help to validate key findings and to test hypotheses.
What mistakes are often made in market, competitor, trend, or technology analyses?
The most common mistake is to not execute such analyses or do them far too late.
Quick example: We’re working together with R&D departments of Automotive Suppliers. Often their prototypes have already been developed over the last years – but the check with potential buyers, namely the Automotive OEMs, did not happen. To close this information gap, we analyzed the competitive landscape and potential buyers. As a result of our analyses the development process was stopped to invest in other areas. Especially in the ICT industry many services and products are being developed as an outcome of individual customer projects – without the “Market Check” – with the same risks of no-happy ending, as in the above-mentioned case.
It is always the old models of marketing experts like Manfred Bruhn that are consulted for such analyses. Can the old models even be transferred to our "new world"?
Thomas Allgeyer: They play a role and we´re using them – but in various, partially strongly adopted ways. In the last years we focused strongly on building our own frameworks and using them in a very project-specific manner. In this regard, we oriented mainly on models and frameworks used by consulting companies like BCG, McKinsey, or Roland Berger – which in many cases are also a further development of the classic models.
What challenges and opportunities are you currently observing in the B2B sector?
To name our Number One Challenge and Opportunity at the same time: The rise of Digital Business Models.
The last two years with COVID have changed many industries fundamentally: The Digitalization speeded up extremely and business models changed much quicker than in the years before. Especially industries like Construction and Manufacturing are accelerating their efforts in creation of new and better digital solutions, to strengthen the connection with customers and to create additional revenue streams. The challenges within these topics are often a high pre-investment with unsecure revenue perspective, different expertise needed within the departments and the support and decision of the top management to enter new paths. On the other side it´s a huge opportunity to improve customer loyalty, to tap into new target groups and finally to generate additional revenue streams.
Is your event only for people from the B2B sector? Or is it also interesting for others?
Thomas Allgeyer: Many of our Best Practices in B2B can be adopted to B2C as well – so in our perspective – yes – especially if thinking about other approaches to classical market research. One of our passions is to solve problems and pain points and to find the best solution, so looking forward to very fruitful discussions.