The B2B Research Blog

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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.

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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SME marketing channel preferences revealed

The B2B Research Blog

There are 1.3 million of them, they generate half of the UK’s GDP and employ 60 per cent of the private sector workforce.  Moreover, they’re big buyers of B2B products and services.  Just ask Sage who’s built a £1.4 billion business on the back of them. SMEs are a potentially significant opportunity for many B2B marketers then, but how best to open a conversation? This was puzzling me so I asked 450 buyers of B2B services within SMEs to imagine a prospective supplier wanted to engage with them.  Their answers provide clear guidance on where best to target marketing resources.  An overview.

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Financial benchmarks for B2B marketing agencies

The B2B Research Blog

Are you normal? . As a business I mean. . If you’re running a B2B marketing agency do you really know how your firm performs relative to competitors? It’s tough to answer this question with confidence.  After all, your competitors only share the legal minimum of information about performance.  Information which is also usually opaque and outdated. . Despair not though.  The 2011 B2B Marketing Agency League Table , compiled by B2B Marketing Magazine and Circle Research , fills in the gaps.  . The UK’s top ten B2B marketing agencies by turnover in 2011: IAS B2B (£12.6m). MRM London (£10.5m).

150 Content Marketing Tips

Drive traffic—and leads—with these tips for SEO, social media, content optimization, email marketing, and more.

Benchmark your digital marketing activity

The B2B Research Blog

Have you ever wondered how other B2B marketers spend their digital marketing budgets?  Where they invest the greatest amount of time?  And how effective they feel different digital activities are? certainly have so when Omobono and The Marketing Society asked Circle Research to survey B2B marketers and establish how they behave in relation to digital, we jumped at the chance. The research results – based on feedback from over 80 senior B2B marketers collectively controlling budgets of more than £33m – provide a valuable benchmark. 

Three reasons B2B marketers should care about sustainability

The B2B Research Blog

In the latest in my series of interviews with today’s leading business thinkers I spoke with Thomas Jelley, Corporate Citizenship Manager at support services giant Sodexo. But why, you may wonder, is a B2B marketing research agency like Circle talking about sustainability.  Isn’t that the preserve of a niche team within corporations and NGOs? . Well, no.  Increasingly sustainability is becoming embedded throughout corporates and amongst individual departments – including marketing – for three very compelling reasons. If you’re not convinced so far, here’s the clincher: sales. 

47% of B2B marketers endorse using sex to sell

The B2B Research Blog

Ever since I was invited to join The Network of Aspiring Women (Birmingham Group), I’ve felt more in touch with my feminine side ( see post here ). Perhaps that’s why my interest was piqued by a recent discussion on the B-to-B Marketing LinkedIn Group. Kate Bishop, Marketing Co-ordinator at Custom Fluidpower, has a dilemma.   To use, or not to use, promotional girls at a trade show stand? Her boss is insistent but she has concerns.  I share them. First, let’s be clear about exactly what a “promotional girl” is. Use promotional girls if… They’re tastefully dressed. They’re knowledgeable.

Better B2B segmentation: Four steps and a case study

The B2B Research Blog

Last week I was invited to join The Network of Aspiring Woman, Birmingham Group.  I was tempted.  After all, “ it’s where networking feels like a party ”.  However, I declined for two reasons.  I live in London.  I’m a man. Clearly the Network’s execution fell short, but their strategy seems smart.  Rather than trying to be all things to all people, they’ve segmented the market and targeted a niche group.  Contrast this with another experience. The call was from a data centre “ specialising in the SME segment ”.  SMEs, especially in relation to IT, are not one homogeneous mass.  The result?

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Content Marketing 2016: Staffing, Measurement, and Effectiveness

We surveyed 2016's content marketing leaders on their biggest issues, hurdles, and goals.

An interview with Jaakko Alanko: MD, Alanko Consulting

The B2B Research Blog

Every month David Willan interviews leading experts from the world of marketing and B2B.  This month David spoke with Jaakko Alanko, one of the true doyens of B2B communications. Jaakko shares insights learned during 40 years in marketing, discusses the B2B brands he admires and shares his vision for the future of B2B marketing: the era of the enterprise brand. In a career spanning over 40 years you’ve obviously seen lots of changes in B2B communications.  What are the biggest? Many of the changes we’ve seen have been pretty wide-ranging. Technology enables us to do this. .

B2B SEO Benchmarking Report – highlights

The B2B Research Blog

We recently partnered with B2B Marketing Magazine to create the first report in their Benchmarking series.  The topic was search marketing in B2B. One of the most striking findings from the research is how digital has altered the marketing landscape. The two most commonly used techniques in the modern B2B marketer’s armoury are now email (82% use) and search marketing (67%). It would be a mistake though to assume that ‘traditional’ techniques are dead.  Rather, what we’re seeing is an integrated approach with 75% of B2B marketers deploying five or more channels. The third driver is confidence. 

The Times They Are a-Changin’

The B2B Research Blog

 . Our friends at Marketing Options International (MOI) have just launched the Mind Share Café.  No, not a diversification into tea and cakes, but a virtual hub where they’ve collected together the thoughts of leading B2B technology marketers.  Marketers from players like Dell, Microsoft and Cisco. Have a look – the Mind Share Café.  You won’t find any pontificating.  No self-serving agendas. 

Blink: A side door to the unconscious

The B2B Research Blog

Sometimes things just feel right.  We can’t say why, they just do.  The house bought not because it ticked all the boxes, but because you could imagine living there.  The supplier chosen not after an exhaustive procurement assessment, but because they just seemed to fit.  In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell explores experiences like these. This idea has significant implications for marketers. We tend to think of B2B purchases as being highly rational.  Undoubtedly many are, but buying decisions always involve people.  Asking them directly then does tend to be revealing. 

Study: How Much of Your Content Marketing Is Effective?

745 marketers told us how effective their content marketing is. Between November 5 and November 17, we surveyed 601 marketers with an 18-question online survey. A few weeks later, Adweek sent the questionnaire to 144 additional marketers. As the survey was answered by nearly our entire population target, the calculated margin of error was approximately 1 percent. Here's what we learned.

An interview with Stephen Cheliotis: CEO, Centre for Brand Analysis

The B2B Research Blog

Every month David Willan interviews leading experts in from the world of marketing and B2B.  This month David interviews Stephen Cheliotis, Chairman of the Superbrands Expert Councils and Chief Executive of The Centre for Brand Analysis (TCBA). Stephen offers some fascinating insights into the world of B2B brands. He discusses what makes a strong B2B brand and identifies the benefits that strong B2B brands bring; he looks at how B2B brands may evolve in the future, chooses his own favourite B2B brands and gives his view on whether B2B brands can ever become cool brands.

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How to create a Customer Happiness Index

The B2B Research Blog

In my last post I put forward the idea that every business should measure its performance against a stakeholder ‘Happiness Index’ with a particular focus on customers.  As the customer’s voice within the organisation, responsibility for this index lies at the marketer’s door. Before we go any further I’d like to challenge the received wisdom that it’s commercially sensible for every business to invest in enhancing customer happiness.  This isn’t always true and there are two notable exceptions. . The first are businesses in sectors where demand persistently outstrips supply. 

Not how you fly, but how you serve

The B2B Research Blog

Many years ago now, whilst I was working at, newly privatised, British Airways, our research team was challenged to understand what it meant to be “branded British” in each of its key markets.  What does the power of national identification bring to the airline in each market it serves, and how could that knowledge be leveraged to help position the airline and its service to best effect?

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B2B SEO Benchmarking Report – highlights

The B2B Research Blog

We recently partnered with B2B Marketing Magazine to create the first report in their Benchmarking series.  The topic was search marketing in B2B. One of the most striking findings from the research is how digital has altered the marketing landscape. The two most commonly used techniques in the modern B2B marketer’s armoury are now email (82% use) and search marketing (67%). It would be a mistake though to assume that ‘traditional’ techniques are dead.  Rather, what we’re seeing is an integrated approach with 75% of B2B marketers deploying five or more channels. The third driver is confidence. 

Content Methodology: A Best Practices Report

If you're concerned that your organization's content marketing isn't as effective as it could be, this report is for you.


The B2B Research Blog

JZXJRB6SZ4A3. Business Ideas

How many B2B marketers are in a Glacier Mint?

The B2B Research Blog

I’m of the opinion that every car glove box should contain, as standard, boiled sweets.  Some opt for the classic travel tin but I prefer a bag of Fox’s Glacier Mints.  I like the taste, but I like the idea more.  That in my little glove box sits an icon; a brand that’s part of our cultural fabric. Here’s some Glacier Mint trivia.  The polar bear mascot is called Peppy, they contain only the purest sugar (impurities turn the clear cubes pink) and they’re full of B2B marketers.  Hold on.  Glacier Mint, the FMCG brand, is full of B2B marketers.  Armies of them. Take just one ingredient – sugar. 

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B2B SEO: Content is king

The B2B Research Blog

Life’s hectic.  Sometimes though it’s sensible to take a step back.  To contemplate whether the things we’re doing are the right things; that we’re working not just hard, but smart. With this philosophy in mind we’ve partnered with B2B Marketing Magazine to compile a series of benchmarking reports.  Reports which explore different marketing activities and give an insight into questions that we’d all love to know.  How are my peers allocating their budgets?  What tactics deliver greatest success?  How are they tackling key challenges?

Big list of B2B blogs

The B2B Research Blog

The chaps at Proteus B2B Marketing have compiled a list of B2B sales and marketing blogs.  354 of of them to be exact and well worth a browse to cherry pick the best. The list can be found here – [link]. Stuff we like B2B blogs

Staffing and Launching Your Content Marketing Program

Brand voice? Editorial calendar? Approval workflow? Learn how to craft the crucial parts of a content marketing program. In the third installment of our five-part playbook series, discover the necessary steps to execute a content marketing program.

Air Cargo News: Interview with Circle’s Andy Booth

The B2B Research Blog

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by legendary aviation journalist Peter Conway for Air Cargo News.  Here are my edited musings… Market research, brand development, and customer segmentation may be unfamiliar ideas to many sections of the air cargo business, but the director of London-based Circle Research is on a mission to change all that. Who needs marketing in the air cargo sector? After all, isn’t cargo a business-to-business environment where person-to-person relationships are key? Unlike business-to-consumer sectors where the customers are many and unknown.

The Ministry of Happiness

The B2B Research Blog

“[GNP] measures everything…except that which makes life worthwhile” said Robert Kennedy.  Forty years on David Cameron has picked up Kennedy’s idea and instructed government statisticians to begin measuring quality of life in psychological terms. . In a nutshell the idea is this.  Government has many roles but its core goal is to ensure the happiness of citizens.  Helping create wealth is an important part of this.  After all, money buys a better standard of living.  However, there comes a point once material needs have been met.  Rather I just thought there was an interesting parallel. 

Thesis vs Genesis – Comparing Premium WordPress Themes


Over the Labor Day weekend, I had the pleasure of working on my first website using the Genesis Framework from StudioPress. I say pleasure because it happened to be my husband’s new photography site, and it was the first theme he’s chosen that didn’t lead me to using a string of obscenities that might actually shock people who regularly watch HBO. Thesis vs Genesis. Enjoy! 59.95.

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The Trouble with Klout

Paul Gillin

Estimating influence is a delicate balance of art and science. People are drawn to quantitative methods because scores are easy to understand. The downside of reducing influence to a number, though, is oversimplification. Lately, I’ve been looking at  Klout , the popular new tool that bills itself as “The Standard&# for influence measurement. The more I look at it, the less I like it.

10 Key Marketing Trends for 2016

Learn how you can deliver the outstanding cross-channel experiences your contacts want.

7 Reasons Why Business Websites Are Still Important


With all the hype around Facebook, blogs and Twitter, I often get asked whether a business still needs a website. seriously) Having a good website for your business is even more important now that technologies like Twitter and Facebook make it easier for more people to find you. People search through search engines like Google or Bing, not via Facebook for fan pages. What do you think?

The Nifty 50 Top Women of Twitter for 2011


Few phenomena have ever spread as far and grown as rapidly as social media; obviously, this has tapped into something essential to our nature. What is it? The answer may come from the email marketing field. According to a recent study by email service provider Aweber, four simple words virtually guaranteed to get an email opened are: “You are not alone.”. Jennifer Aaker. aaker. Diana Adams. Ambal.

Connect Your Blog to Facebook Automatically

Writing on the Web

Are your blog posts fed automatically into Facebook? The other day I was horrified to learn that a dear client was manually posting his blog articles to Facebook. Yikes! No wonder blogging seems tiresome and time-consuming. took my pencil and rapped him on the knuckles, gave him a virtual scowl and promised to write a post about how to do this. How to Automatically Link Blog Posts to Facebook.

Social CRM and Return on Marketing: Customer Life Cycle Value


No marketing activity is an island. No customer-centric business process should be isolated. Every business should be working on integrating all data platforms, silos, marketing channels and businesses processes right now in order to have a single customer view and 360 degrees social CRM approach. Smart campaigns and branding are crucial for every business. Integrated. People-centric. Why now?

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Content Marketing Playbook: Strategy and Roadmap

Every brand’s content roadmap is different; each path to success is unique to that brand’s story, perspective, assets, and goals. But there is an overarching approach that’s proven to work—one we’ve refined after helping hundreds of brands reach their content marketing goals and after speaking with some of the brightest minds in the industry.

50 (of the) Best Social Media Guides, Tips and Insights of 2011 (So Far)


Social media marketing has gone well beyond the hype stage and is now mainstream business practice. Still, questions remain: how do I use social media most effectively across the enterprise? Which social media monitoring tools should I use? What should I monitor for? How do I use my time and resources most effectively? What social media developments and trends should I be watching? What to do?