Minority-Owned Businesses represent 33% of Small Businesses but are underrepresented in B2B Online Panels.

Business-to-consumer sample providers have embraced the importance of including minority samples when conducting studies in the U.S. However, when we look at business-to-business sample providers, the inclusion of minority B2B online sample has yet to experience mainstream adoption. This exclusion is particularly troubling because 33% of small businesses across the U.S. are minority-owned. And just as minorities included in a B2C sample experience life through a different lens, minority business owners’ experience with business is different than the majority. Those differences, when not accounted for, can have a significant impact on the outcome of a study.

With that said, why aren’t more B2B online sample providers advising their clients to include minority-owned businesses in their studies since excluding them will skew the data?

Here’s what our analysis shows:

  1. Panel Infrastructure – B2B panels focus heavily on recruiting and profiling by vertical, business size, and executive type. Rarely do B2B panel companies profile by minority ownership. If they do, they are still underrepresented. In fact, minority-owned businesses lean towards verticals that are underrepresented in B2B panels in general.

    Because B2B panels were not set up to track minority ownership to begin with, getting minority B2B sample into B2B studies is difficult.
  2. Cultural Nuance – From a design perspective, online panels, in general, suffer from a lack of inspiration and are typically out of sync with the user’s real online experience. This discrepancy is something our industry has been tackling for a while now as we work to increase response rates. The disconnect here becomes even more apparent when users from different cultural backgrounds interact with the online panel portals.

    As it turns out, business owners, too, interact differently online than the general population. And the failure of developers of B2B panels and websites to tailor the online experience for a cross-cultural audience leads to lower recruitment and retention rates of minority-owned businesses.
  3. AwarenessIf you’re not aware of it, it doesn’t exist, right? Wrong. Many B2B focused companies may not be aware of the large percentage of minority-owned businesses and are simply just not asking their B2B sample providers to have accurate representation.

    But just because your client isn’t aware of it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. A key differentiating factor between good and great sample providers is a commitment to shedding the shroud of order taker and assuming the role of trusted resource, providing sound advice that will lead to better data collection.

What you can do to provide better B2B online sample

Minority-owned businesses represent $591 billion in revenues annually. Your clients current and future success could hinge on understanding the specific needs of this growing segment of small businesses. Sample providers are one of the last defenses against delivering poor research.

So, next time you have a B2B sample request without a minority-owned business quota, make yourself stand out by advising your client of the importance of including minority-owned businesses in your sample. They’ll thank you for it.