Editor's note: Andrew Silk is the account director at Euromonitor International. This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared under the title “B2B Decision Making: Don’t Underestimate the Value of Market Research.” 

You wouldn’t expect a pilot to fail his pre-takeoff checks or not review the weather forecast. So why would a business fail to engage in market research before setting out on a particular strategy, product launch or important decision? Pilots today need to take account of an increasingly complex array of factors – increased air traffic movements, gridlocked airports, extreme weather events and new technologies, which are supposed to make their lives easier and less stressful. 

Similarly, the business environment decision makers face today is fast paced, constantly changing and in a more connected world, more prone to shocks and challenges that were unanticipated even a few years ago. Now more than ever, it’s important to understand the market that a business operates in and accurately appraise the risks faced by the business today. How many investments in innovation, products and expansion initiatives could have been improved – or even avoided in the worst cases – if executives had truly harnessed the insights and guidance of proper market research?

The importance of market research lies in enabling a business to understand its market, customers, products and competitors. Independent market research places a business in context with its environment, providing a full appreciation to executives of the external factors that might influence its decision making capabilities and future performance.

While some B2B enterprises use market research, how many have successfully implemented comprehensive market research strategies into their decision making processes to add real value to the organization? Some B2B industries are highly concentrated with data and insights hel...