Capturing the Beginner’s Mind Through B2B Market Research


Shoshin (初心) is a word from Zen Buddhism meaning "beginner's mind." It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner would.

Over the years we have learned that brands with a longstanding presence within a B2B vertical can get comfortable with comfort. Rather than hoping for the same expected brand perception, Market Research can help uncover the "beginner's mind" for those brands looking to break out from the middle to achieve faster and more profitable growth. Doing so, however, requires truly independent research from unbiased sources, in the context of statistical significance within the story arch of the brand's historical reference point.

Utilizing a third party for your B2B surveys will capture feedback unlike the other forms of feedback that might be clouding your decision making. Here are four gentle reminders on how best to achieve the "beginner's mind" with your B2B research and insights efforts.

  1. The third-party survey invitation must come in the form of a gentle request to make the industry better.

  2. The research team conducting the analysis must come from the viewpoint of "nothing to gain" to capture the beginner's mindset.

  3. The survey instrument itself must be constructed as an outsider seeking input, encouraging participants to "unload" their constructive criticism.

  4. The invitation must come with no preconceptions. Utilizing a legitimate, third party to send the survey invitation can help put the respondent at ease, and ensure that their Personally Identifiable Information (PII) remains anonymized.

If you are looking to become a remarkable brand you must take the necessary steps to uncover your brand perception with your B2B target base. The pre-conditioned state of your target base is sometimes too powerful to overcome with traditional, "gut feeling" decision making. You must be willing to listen to what your customers and prospects say when your salespeople are not in the room, and in order to capture that feedback you must invite your target audience to take surveys with a "beginners mind"; free from sales pressure, free to express themselves, tapping into a genuine desire to make the industry (and your brand) better.