The B2B Research Blog

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Brand mapping – Correspondence Analysis explained

The B2B Research Blog

Which attributes most closely define your brand?  Which other brands are challenging you for this space?  How differentiated is your brand and where might there be white space? In this survey we asked buyers whether they associated our client’s brand and thirteen competitors with ten attributes which previous qualitative research had identified as important in this market.  Here’s what we found. 

Understanding brand personality through projective techniques

The B2B Research Blog

Most brands have a set of human traits associated with them – a brand personality.   In B2B markets brand personality is an especially important concept as ‘corporate fit’ is often an important consideration for B2B buyers – “are these people on my wavelength and can I see myself working with them?”. You can shape your corporate brand personality through marketing communications and, most importantly, by developing an appropriate corporate culture. That’s not straightforward. The interviewer then has the respondent immerse themselves in the scene and describe the experience. 

A wake up call for market research agencies

The B2B Research Blog

Greenbo ok has just published the latest edition of the GRIT Report.  The study, now in its 11 th year and based on the opinions of 1,400+ practitioners, monitors trends in the market research industry. The report is a real wake-up call for market research agencies.  Sadly only a select few seem to be listening. Five years on, that’s still the case.  There’s a good connection with marketers (i.e.

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Using Regression Analysis in market research

The B2B Research Blog

When measuring the health of customer relationships, three metrics are at the core of most studies: customer satisfaction , customer loyalty (likelihood of choosing supplier at next purchase) and customer advocacy (likelihood of recommending supplier to others). However, these metrics alone are not enough.  Two approaches can take our understanding to that next level. Regression Analysis explained.

The Rise of the Customer Marketer

Explore the changes taking place in customer marketing from the perspective of customer marketers themselves.

The benefits of a strong brand in B2B markets

The B2B Research Blog

Some don’t think that branding matters in B2B markets.  They say that B2B decision makers are logical beings immune to any such irrational influences.  And anyway, it’s all just fluffy marketing crap and a brand is really just a logo isn’t it?  . B2B marketers disagree.  In fact, our surveys have found that 77% of B2B marketing leaders believe that branding is critical to growth. Well first off, they realise that rather than simply being a logo, a brand is a perception held about a company.  It’s a series of associations about: What you stand for. You can however choose to manage your brand.

Finding the brand positioning sweet spot

The B2B Research Blog

Managing a B2B brand isn’t easy.  In a recent survey of 100 senior B2B marketers conducted for the B2B Leaders Forum by Circle Research , they named three major challenges: Resources:  Brand building is a lower priority than activity which directly builds revenue in the short-term. In this post I’d like to focus on the last challenge – finding the right brand positioning.

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Branding terminology and jargon explained

The B2B Research Blog

Jargon abounds in the discipline of branding, and the plethora of terms in use coupled with the sometimes nuanced differences between them can have undesirable side effects.  Sometimes the jargon undermines the user, making them seem pretentious or detached from the hard-nosed world of commerce.  And other times conversations will become increasingly confused as terms are used interchangeably or different meanings attached to the same words by different people. So in the interests of clarity, let’s take a look at some of key branding terminology and what it really means.

Driving action from a customer satisfaction programme

The B2B Research Blog

Most companies have a customer satisfaction research programme in place, but not all are made equal.  Some are active agents of change – they spur the organisation to act, building stronger customer relationships, boosting customer loyalty and ultimately improving commercial performance.  Others are passive observers – they simply report on the situation but do little to change it.  So, how do you ensure that your customer satisfaction programme makes a positive difference? Here are nine golden rules. Rule 1: Create stakeholder ownership. Rule 2: Measure the right things. Rule 3: Prioritise.

B2B Marketing Trends for 2016

25 B2B marketing thought leaders answer the question "What do you expect to B2B marketers to be doing more of or differently in 2016?" The results are amazing insights around content marketing, achieving business results, alignment, employee advocacy, new technologies, customer experience and more.

Branding is b t

The B2B Research Blog

“Branding is marketing b t. Only FMCG firms who need to build aspirations and desire worry about stuff like that. B2B is different. The relationship is with me – the sales guy – not the corporate brand. Even if it wasn’t, buyers are rational and put emotions to one side. And anyway our brand is just fine, the logo is great.”. Sound familiar? As a marketer you no doubt recognise the value of a strong brand.  77% of the 100 B2B marketing leaders we recently surveyed for the B2B Leaders Forum went so far as to describe branding as critical to their company’s future growth.

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What system 1 and 2 thinking mean for B2B marketers

The B2B Research Blog

A clever chap called Daniel Kahneman has a theory. When making decisions there are two systems in our mind which influence the outcome.   System 1 works at a sub-conscious level without us knowing it.  Using intuition and beliefs about how the world works, it makes a rapid assessment of the situation then quickly settles on a course of action.  In contrast, system 2 works at a conscious level.   Using deliberative reasoning and logic, it carefully evaluates the situation before reaching a conclusion. Now, what does all this mean for B2B marketers?

What makes a good marketing leader?

The B2B Research Blog

There are two universal truths about all marketing plans. One, no matter how smart the plan might be, it’s worthless unless well executed. And two, no plan has ever executed itself – people make it happen. Here’s another observation. Two marketing teams with identical skills and resources, both looking to achieve the same goals, can achieve very different results. That’s down to leadership – the ability to get the best out of people and make 1 + 1 = 3. The latest B2B Marketing Leaders Report, produced in conjunction with Circle Research, explores how to lead well. They gave clear guidance.

B2B market research – 10 unique features

The B2B Research Blog

Is B2B market research really that different from B2C?  Well in a nutshell, yes.  In this blog post Circle’s Andrew Dalglish explores the 10 key differences that make B2B research unique. As you go about your daily business it’s unlikely that you’ll come into contact with many people who think that a pair of jeans and a nuclear power plant have a lot in common. And with good reason.

It’s official – in B2B, content is king

The B2B Research Blog

It’s official.  Content is king. The latest B2B Marketing Benchmark report  produced in association with Circle Research reveals that 71% of B2B marketers consider content marketing to be a critical activity.  Last year less than half (43%) held this opinion. Content marketing in some shape or form now consumes 40% of the average B2B marketing department’s time.  Highest on the ‘to do’ list are three heavily used content formats: blog posts (61% use), case studies (45%) and white papers (44%).  Importantly, these different formats are being used for different purposes.  What’s the secret? 

Six Key Steps to Successful Marketing Automation Adoption

Selecting a Marketing Automation platform can be a daunting task. With so many options out there, your success with Marketing Automation depends on selecting the platform that best fits your needs.

How to measure customer satisfaction in B2B markets

The B2B Research Blog

How do you measure customer satisfaction in B2B markets?  What questions should you ask in a customer satisfaction survey? Fair questions, but first ask yourself this: should you measure customer satisfaction?  It’s counter-intuitive, but in B2B markets sometimes customer satisfaction doesn’t actually matter.  For example, even disgruntled customers may remain loyal because: A supplier offers a significant product or price advantage. The cost, effort or risk of moving supplier is just too high. They’re inert and don’t really care that much. There’s, of course, a lot more to it. 

The cost of losing a customer

The B2B Research Blog

What’s the cost of losing a customer?  ‘A lot’ is the simple answer, especially in B2B markets where the pool of prospective customers is limited and each sale tends to be high value. We can be a bit more specific about the cost of losing a customer though. Various numbers are bandied around in this respect – acquiring a new customer costs five, seven, ten, even thirty times more than retaining an existing one.  However, ignore any stats like these because they’re a red-herring.  Here’s how. There could be many reasons.  Cost per lost customer.

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Does Big Data mean market research is dead?

The B2B Research Blog

When Big Data finally becomes a reality, does that mean market research will become surplus to requirements?  Will surveys, focus groups and interviews become relics of a bygone age? Some would say so. They argue that we already have the answers to most questions at our fingertips.  They’re sitting in our servers and on the web.  All we need to do is mine the data to reveal the insight.  That being the case, why bother asking customers themselves, especially as what people say they do, doesn’t always match what they actually do? They’ve got a point.  But it can’t reveal everything.

Email marketing: Overcoming message overload

The B2B Research Blog

I’ve always felt my groaning inbox bore testament to the popularity of email marketing.  Now my suspicions are confirmed. . The latest report in B2B Marketing’s Benchmark series reveals that a whopping nine in ten (88%) B2B marketers make use of the technique.  Remarkably, amongst those doing so almost one half (44%) broadcast emails once a week or more often. Click for enlarged infographic.

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8 Ways to Create More Effective Lead Generation Programs

Explore key areas you should focus on with your content syndication strategy in order to help you get the attention of your target audience and build trust.

B2B brands are dead. Long live B2B2C brands!

The B2B Research Blog

I’ve been having a quick look at the list of top 20 B2B brands compiled by Superbrands UK and published earlier in the week (see the full list of B2B superbrands  here ).  Three things strike me as being really interesting: Being a brand that is exclusively B2B isn’t enough. Maybe this B2B2C trend reflects the often forgotten fact that B2B decision makers are humans too.  Long live B2B2C brands!

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The month in #mrx

The B2B Research Blog

Every four weeks we here at @circle_research find the most popular Tweets about market research (#mrx in Twitter talk) and take a look at what’s hot. What do surveys and Bollywood have in common? This month saw an unusual collision of two worlds.  And in first place…@esoGOV. Topping the bill was ESOMAR Government Affairs ( @esoGOV ). close second…@kristinluck. And last but not least… @Euromonitor.

The secrets of successful B2B marketing

The B2B Research Blog

What’s the secret to successful marketing?  A recent survey by B2B Marketing and Circle Research asked 104 client-side B2B marketers that very question – ‘what would you say are the key elements to successful B2B marketing?’.  They were given free rein to answer however they wanted and an analysis of these responses reveals five themes. First, marketing needs to have a strategic vision.  It needs to be based on a clear understanding of its purpose and what it ultimately wants to achieve – its raison d’etre.  Based on deep insights into customers – their motivations, needs and behaviours.

Time to get with the programmatic

The B2B Research Blog

Here’s my attempt at a bit of Derren Brown-esque trickery. If you’re a B2B marketer, annual planning is on your mind.  Events, email and content feature heavily.  Two fifths of your budget is allocated to digital channels.  How did I do? If I got close to the truth, it’s not clairvoyance but just educated guesswork.  In particular the B2B Barometer suggests that, on average, B2B marketers spend 39% of their budget on digital. Now, let me try again.  If online advertising is in your marketing plan, it’s not programmatic (i.e. But if it’s not part of your plan now, it soon will be. 

A Blueprint for Content Marketing Success

84% of marketers plan to increase their content marketing spend over the next 5 years but less than half have any real confidence such content investments are paying off, based on a recent CEB survey.

B2B social media: Highlights from new benchmarking research

The B2B Research Blog

B2B social media; is it a case of the Emperor’s New Clothes? The latest B2B Marketing Benchmark Report – based on a survey of 274 client side B2B marketers conducted by us here at Circle Research – finally seems to provide a definitive answer.  The social media Emperor is getting dressed, but is still in his underpants. The report is set to be launched late August, but here’s a sneak preview.

Financial benchmarks for B2B marketing agencies

The B2B Research Blog

You may have read my recent post about B2B Marketing’s 2014 Agency League Table (if not, take a peek here ).  By now you may even have read the full report.  In this post I’d like to share a few gems which you won’t find in either. I’ve been wading around in the raw data which underpins the League Table and in doing so have unearthed some benchmarks which agency leaders will find especially useful. Let’s look at the top line first.  The average agency turnover is £4.08 million (up 13% from 2013).  However, as averages mask the extremes a more useful approach is to identify quartiles.  million.

Which B2B brands do you most respect?

The B2B Research Blog

Which B2B brands do you most respect? We recently posed this question to 100 marketing leaders in B2B companies. Two brands emerged head and shoulders above the rest: IBM and Salesforce. My interest piqued, I asked Xabier Ormazabal (Salesforce’s head of UK marketing) and Paul Smith (VP EMEA Salesforce Marketing Cloud) what the secret of Salesforce’s success was. They gave ten tips: It’s not your brand. brand is simply a perception others have of you. Marketers can influence these perceptions but not control them. It’s not the marketing department’s brand. Don’t just state it, live it.

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Tips for B2B customer satisfaction research

The B2B Research Blog

Customers are your lifeblood. But it’s tough to actively manage these relationships unless you understand how they feel about you. That’s why every B2B business needs a programme of regular customer satisfaction research. Take care though.  Get it wrong and you can actually make things a whole lot worse… Relationships matter.  Don’t try and bypass those who ‘own’ the customer relationship within your organisation. Gain their support for the research first, or they and customers may react negatively.  Reflect your business.  Spend more time with major accounts.  React in real-time. 

Why B2B Content Strategies Are Paramount for Generating Quality Leads

Generating demand and ensuring the consistent flow of high-quality, actionable leads is what makes B2B marketers successful.

How B2B brands approach Twitter

The B2B Research Blog

Social media has become a bit of an obsession for me. Not so much as a participant, but as an observer. I’m the technology equivalent of a bird watcher. I’ve been observing B2B marketers in their natural habitat. Noting their behaviours. Sketching and documenting the different species I see. call them ‘Twitologies’ and I’d like to share an outline of them here. It all began with a study Circle Research conducted for B2B Marketing late in 2011 to establish the ‘state of the nation’ in B2B social media. And after more than 250 interviews with client-side readers we had a solid benchmark.

Insights from the B2B Barometer

The B2B Research Blog

The B2B Barometer explores economic confidence and spending patterns amongst B2B marketers.  Launched 5 years ago in 2009 and now representing the view of B2B marketers with a collective spend of £95 million, it is the industry’s state-of-the-nation study.  I’d like to share a few of the study’s key findings here. The B2B Barometer is published by Circle Research , the BMC and the IDM. 

The benefits of marketing automation aren’t automatic

The B2B Research Blog

Predictions that 2015 is the year of marketing automation seem to be spot on.  The latest Benchmarking Report from B2B Marketing reveals that the vast majority of B2B marketers have either adopted an automation solution (43%) or plan to in the next 12 months (45%).  If you’re about to take the plunge there are some valuable lessons to be taken from those who have gone before. They’ll tell you to carefully manage your own and others’ expectations.  Most adopted an automation system to achieve three goals: to better manage leads, to deliver more relevant content/messaging and to increase revenue. 

How Big Data will shape the researcher of 2020

The B2B Research Blog

A new report from Circle Research and dnx confirms the view that Big Data is the next revolutionary force in marketing.  43% of marketers are already mining petabytes of customer data to uncover hidden insights into behaviour; a further 40% plan to embrace Big Data’s benefits in the next three years. Here’s the good news for the market research community. The report reveals that marketers feel three skills are critical if they want to become CEOs of the future: Knowledge of customer insight and its applications (71% name as critical skill). Excellent communication skills (69%).

The B2B Marketer's Field Guide To Customer Engagement

Leverage customer engagement and advocacy to drive brand, demand and profitable growth.

It’s all about the lead

The B2B Research Blog

Marketing still plays second fiddle to sales in B2B organisations. . Past readings of the B2B Barometer survey reveal that up to 60% of B2B marketers agree with this statement and the latest survey published in June 2012 confirms it. . Two fifths (41%) of B2B marketers report that their single highest marketing priority for 2012 is to generate more of the salesperson’s raw material – leads.  Fair enough.  After all, few brands have buyers queuing at their door so ‘hunting’ revenue has to be a key focus. It seems that lead generation is not cheap.  So how best to generate them? The solution?

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The secrets of employee motivation

The B2B Research Blog

In her latest blog for Quirk’s Marketing Research Review , Circle Research’s HR lead Beth Pearson explores how an agency can best nurture and retain talent…. Research is a people business. Our raw materials are the opinions of respondents. Our product is the insight extracted from these raw materials by clever folk. And an agency or client-side researcher can only make a difference if they’re skilled at building relationships with key stakeholders. This all means that attracting, developing and motivating top talent is critical to our industry’s future. What’s the secret?

Top ten B2B marketing challenges

The B2B Research Blog

Holger Schulze, Marketing Director at SafeNet, recently posted a great question to the 9,040 members of LinkedIn’s B2B Marketing group. Can you use ONE WORD to describe the biggest challenge facing B2B Marketing today?”. love this question for two reasons.  One, it forces a focussed answer.  Given the volume of opinion I thought I’d help the digestion process by creating a word cloud.  Relevance.

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Social media in B2B – the latest stats

The B2B Research Blog

The allure of social media in B2B is growing rapidly. Over four in five marketing teams (83 per cent) now post on social media – an activity that consumes one fifth of their time (20 per cent) – and three quarters (77 per cent) expect to spend more time doing this over the next 12 months. Over one third (35 per cent) of organisations now subscribe to a paid social media monitoring platform.

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B2B Marketing Trends for 2016

25 B2B marketing thought leaders answer the question "What do you expect to B2B marketers to be doing more of or differently in 2016?" The results are amazing insights around content marketing, achieving business results, alignment, employee advocacy, new technologies, customer experience and more.