“The real truth is that most of the research we do is to drive content. In the B2B world, it’s all about content. We do several research studies a year across customer groups to come up with thought leadership,” reveals executive director of marketing Simon Carter.
With the vast majority of his customer relationships built on multimillion-pound deals negotiated face-to-face and which last several years, Carter needs a deep understanding of each client’s business priorities.
“The main insight research we do tends to be focus group sessions with key customers over dinner, breakfast or lunch. Generally, we will float an idea and have a conversation around what they think of it. It is partly research but it’s also about relationship building and an opportunity to get closer to a customer and be interested in what they are doing,” he adds.
That is not to say the company does not run satisfaction surveys. But the deep market research that only Fujitsu as a supplier would have the size and expertise to run is partly responsible for revealing to clients the effects of future issues that they might not have realised themselves.
“Thought leadership is a way to demonstrate to our customer that we understand their business,” Carter explains. “We have just done a piece on the financial sector about what future banks will look like. It’s less about IT and more about creating some ideas. We researched end consumers as well as senior banking executives and got real insight into what a future bank might look like. We then use that as a sales lead to go to customers to say ‘we understand your pain, you can trust us’.”
Making the most of investment
For Carter, there are important requirements that have to be satisfied for his research to have been deemed a success. First, being able to get the maximum output for his investment is vital and so he uses the relationships he has with Fujitsu’s agencies to make sure they all make the most of the networks open to them.
Its PR agency Chime is affiliated with Facts International, an international research company. “We don’t have massive pockets so it’s helpful to have a trusted partner agency that we can rely on to overcome shortcomings,” explains Carter.
Second, measurability and creating the right goals is vital. He says: “We do this with our eyes open. We are very clear when we agree to do a piece of research or create an asset that we need to know what our measures of success are. We need to know what this can be used for. It’s not a box-ticking exercise.”