The B2B Research Blog

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Business volunteering – people or profits?

The B2B Research Blog

Our goal with this project was to help charities attract more volunteers from the business community, and to help businesses implement a more successful volunteering strategy. To do so we surveyed 200 decision makers in London businesses to understand their attitudes, motivations, practices and challenges when it came to volunteering. The The results were fascinating. 

A wake up call for market research agencies

The B2B Research Blog

In 2009 the GRIT report concluded that: “Buyers…increasingly seek out suppliers who understand the intricacies of their particular business, and who deliver strategic insight rather than boring 100-page decks full of data”.  And it’s about the outcome of these actions – positive business change.  Or as the 2014 GRIT report says “we need to steal a few plays from the consultancy industry”.

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B2B market research – 10 unique features

The B2B Research Blog

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. Business decision makers conduct a lot of their transactions by phone. Is B2B market research really that different from B2C?  And with good reason. The tele-depth methodology is more common in qualitative B2B.

Email marketing: Overcoming message overload

The B2B Research Blog

This popularity means that message overload is a real problem.  A business buyer often receives several hundred marketing emails a month.  I’ve always felt my groaning inbox bore testament to the popularity of email marketing.  Now my suspicions are confirmed. . Remarkably, amongst those doing so almost one half (44%) broadcast emails once a week or more often. First, create quality content. 

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B2B Marketing Trends for 2016

better job of linking their efforts to measurable business results. Demonstrate business results: the challenge to tie marketing efforts to measurable business results (e.g., Encourage employee advocacy: a business's employees are (or at least should be) natural brand advocates. What are the business and. my business deliver upon them? B2B Marketing.

The secrets of successful B2B marketing

The B2B Research Blog

And it’s a tool to build support for marketing from across the business by articulating the function’s benefit. This plan can’t simply be the product of the marketing team’s internal musings, but rather needs to be: Aligned to the business’ wider business strategy and goals. 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?’.  Be formed around a clear value proposition.

The secrets of employee motivation

The B2B Research Blog

Research is a people business. 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…. 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

Business Ideas Observations on B2B marketing Stuff we like B2B trends LinkedInHolger 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.  Differentiation. Focus.

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A blueprint for customer service excellence

The B2B Research Blog

But for many B2B businesses it’s simply not commercially viable to individually account manage each customer.  Relationships matter in B2B.  This means that when issues arise, customers need to be directed to ‘mass service’ channels – usually a contact centre. I’ve recently spent a lot of time with Vodafone exploring what great customer service looks like.  The results of the study have been published in full as part of their Perspective thought leadership series, but in a nutshell here’s a blueprint for excellent customer service. It minimises the effort the customer needs to put in.

B2B Marketing Trends for 2016

better job of linking their efforts to measurable business results. Demonstrate business results: the challenge to tie marketing efforts to measurable business results (e.g., Encourage employee advocacy: a business's employees are (or at least should be) natural brand advocates. What are the business and. my business deliver upon them? B2B Marketing.

SME marketing channel preferences revealed

The B2B Research Blog

billion business on the back of them. The most notable difference is apparent when medium sized businesses are compared with their smaller cousins.  As we progress up the size chain behaviour changes. . We explored differences in opinion between five sectors – Financial Services, Marketing & Media, Business & Legal Services, Retail and ICT.  B2B marcomms Business Ideas marcoms marketing channels small business SME marketingThere are 1.3 million of them, they generate half of the UK’s GDP and employ 60 per cent of the private sector workforce. 

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Getting to the top of the marketing tree

The B2B Research Blog

Have business acumen and a commercial focus. To turn strategy into action, a marketing leader also needs to be a ‘statesman’ : Their mind is tuned into the wider business and they have an acute awareness of non-marketing colleagues’ agendas. To provide fuel for debate at B2B Marketing’s Leaders Forum, Circle Research recently surveyed 100 senior B2B marketers.  Between them they control budgets worth £188 million. There was consensus that a strong marketing leader displays four attributes. They have a particular mindset and thinking style. 

The 19 B2B brands in the Klout 50 ranking

The B2B Research Blog

Nineteen of the 50 brands listed have a significant or exclusive B2B focus to their business. There used to be a debate about whether social media was relevant in B2B. Just four years ago, less than one quarter (23%) of B2B marketers described it as ‘highly relevant’ to their brand (source: B2B Barometer ). Now, those holding out against the social tidal wave are few and far between. Indeed, many B2B brands are social media pioneers. Lithium Technologies ’ recently published Klout 50 study is testament to this. The study ranks the 50 most influential brands on social media. Google (4th).

Top B2B marketing challenges – an update

The B2B Research Blog

Business Ideas B2B trends LinkedInI recently posted an analysis of a question to the B2B Marketing LinkedIn group. Can you use ONE WORD to describe the biggest challenge facing B2B marketing today?”. At the time 162 people had replied.  Just two weeks on that’s risen to 246.  Content. Relevance. Differentiation. Enjoyed this post? Subscribe and receive new posts by RSS.

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Financial benchmarks for B2B marketing agencies

The B2B Research Blog

As a business I mean. . The full Benchmarking Report will be published in November, but in the meantime here are some­ key numbers to build into your business planning. . Similarly, the majority of clients come from just four sectors – Technology & Telecoms, Business & Professional Services, Engineering & Manufacturing and Financial Services. Are you normal? . 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.  Despair not though.  Gravity (£9.2m).

B2B Marketing Trends for 2016

better job of linking their efforts to measurable business results. Demonstrate business results: the challenge to tie marketing efforts to measurable business results (e.g., Encourage employee advocacy: a business's employees are (or at least should be) natural brand advocates. What are the business and. my business deliver upon them? B2B Marketing.

B2B marketing sector bounces back: 57% report rising budgets

The B2B Research Blog

B2B market research B2B Marketing Magazine column Business Ideas B2B Barometer B2B budgetsTo say it’s been an eventful few years economically is an understatement.  First we had the credit crunch and a deep recession.  Now deficit reduction measures are biting and bond markets shaking. These turbulent times make the latest instalment of the bi-annual B2B Barometer interesting reading.  The survey – conducted in August 2011 and based on the opinions of 137 B2B agencies and marketers – shows that despite strong headwinds, the last 12 months have been rather rosy for most.

B2B social media – a two horse race?

The B2B Research Blog

Back then 85% of B2B marketers using social media to promote their business, used Twitter to do so.  Social media is time consuming.  The average B2B marketing department spends 17% of their time on it. And if you believe in the wisdom of crowds (or self-fulfilling prophecies) then the latest B2B Social Media Benchmark report reveals where you’re likely to get the best return on this effort.

Eight ways B2B market research differs from B2C

The B2B Research Blog

It can actively hurt business performance by drawing misleading conclusions.  Research can also passively hurt business performance by not driving action.  Indeed, it’s no exaggeration to say that good research can transform a business. Warning.  Market research can be bad for your health. Conclusions which fail to consider the full picture, which focus on the obvious rather than delving deep or which are simply based on faulty information.  The result is bad decisions. The conclusions are sound, but sit on a shelf gathering dust.  Now, don’t get me wrong. 

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Why is B2B market research the poor cousin?

The B2B Research Blog

In his latest blog for the Market Research Society’s news and insight hub Research Live , Circle Research’s Andrew Dalglish explores why business-to-business companies need research just as much as consumer-facing ones…. The research industry is full of dichotomies: qualitative and quantitative; domestic and international; B2C and B2B. There’s no value judgement within these pairings. Each Each side of the coin meets a different need and requires a different skill set. However, However, while there might not be a conceptual value judgement, there is a commercial one. 

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Report: The Ambitious SME

The B2B Research Blog

SME businesses are a passion of mine.  I founded one (Circle!) Sure, some SMEs are lifestyle businesses set up to enable a particular way of living. Our global survey of over 800 senior strategic decision-makers in SMEs reveals that 9 in 10 describe their business as ambitious. If we isolate these particularly ambitious businesses we see that they have a lot in common: They have a common mind-set. They are strategic, energised and pioneering; very ambitious businesses don’t wait to see what happens, they reach out and grab the future.

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The B2B marketer’s world is changing

The B2B Research Blog

And more audiences need to be reached through these channels.  65% of marketers have been tasked with reaching ‘new’ audiences, largely because businesses are in a fight for talent.  Different cultures use different social media platforms, have different attitudes to the use of social media in business and find different topics engaging. It’s tougher being a marketer nowadays than it ever has been.  That’s what 73% of the 200 B2B marketers in the US and UK told us in the latest ‘What Works Where’ survey Circle Research conducted on behalf of Omobono.

Green shoots? Highlights from the B2B Barometer survey

The B2B Research Blog

So, it seems most of us are set for a busy year.  Double dip recession.  Greek bond defaults.  Spanish bailout.  We’re clearly not quite out of the ‘Great Recession’ yet. But we B2B marketers have always been an optimistic bunch.  . The latest B2B Barometer survey explored the opinions of 128 B2B marketing professionals collectively controlling budgets of £29.1 million. . It reveals that despite the economic turmoil, the majority of client-side B2B marketers see happier times ahead. Confidence is high. This starkly contrasts with the low point of 48% reached two years ago in June 2010. .

Eight ways B2B market research differs from B2C

The B2B Research Blog

It can actively hurt business performance by drawing misleading conclusions.  Research can also passively hurt business performance by not driving action.  Indeed, it’s no exaggeration to say that good research can transform a business. Warning.  Market research can be bad for your health. Conclusions which fail to consider the full picture, which focus on the obvious rather than delving deep or which are simply based on faulty information.  The result is bad decisions. The conclusions are sound, but sit on a shelf gathering dust.  Now, don’t get me wrong. 

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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. Of course, in the contemporary vernacular, the concept gets more traction when seen as shorthand for responsible business, business that combines economic, social and environmental factors in decision making. Can you tell me a little more about how it’s evolved in the business? The challenges are the bread and butter of our business. Well, no.  Let’s hear what the expert has to say.

Financial benchmarks for B2B Marketing agencies

The B2B Research Blog

B2B Marketing Magazine column Business IdeasEvery year B2B Marketing Magazine, in partnership with Circle Research , ranks the UK’s top 50 B2B marketing communications agencies based on their revenues. The League and lots of other juicy information is published in a Benchmarking Report.  We’re giving away copies to the first 50 new subscribers to this blog.  Get your copy here  - subscribe. Highlights. Look at the headline numbers and you’d be forgiven for thinking everything is rosy. Average gross income is up 15%.  More than one half (56%) said ‘pressure on client budgets’. 

An interview with Jaakko Alanko: MD, Alanko Consulting

The B2B Research Blog

It means understanding the business motivators, decision drivers and purchasing criteria.  It’s whatever enhances your understanding of these and helps you get into true insight, which then drives the operation creatively and strategically and tactically. That’s Secondly, it’s a business that should be based on customer insight-based marketing, not customer observation-based marketing.  It’s a critical distinction that you’ll know very well yourself. Every month David Willan interviews leading experts from the world of marketing and B2B.  What are the biggest?

From insight to action

The B2B Research Blog

Have a cast of memorable characters – include video vox pops from customers and case studies which emphasise this is not abstract or theoretical but reality.Have a beginning, middle and end – share the most important research findings but only to support the clear business recommendations made in the ‘final scene’. Sometimes the biggest challenge with customer insight is not doing the research, but doing something with it. You start with determination to put the customer at the centre of decisions.  You carefully design a robust survey.  Then…. Well, nothing. Here are five tips.

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Making ‘human-to-human’ marketing a reality

The B2B Research Blog

One widely touted trend in this latter category has a new label (‘human-to-human’ or ‘personalisation’), but is really just a marketing fundamental – recognising that each member of the target market is a person (representing a business) with their own unique behaviours, preferences and emotions.  By intimately understanding this individual they can be engaged with the right messages, at the right time, through the right channel. January is the month for predictions.  Flicking through the various forecasts of what 2015 holds for B2B, common themes emerge. 

Better B2B segmentation: Four steps and a case study

The B2B Research Blog

The data centre should have used “SME&#  only as a starting point to narrow the focus from all businesses.  Some businesses require simple book-keeping whereas others require a full blown accounting and forecasting package.  Some businesses have a preference to manage financial reporting in-house, some to partially outsource and others to outsource entirely.  Different businesses need to explore their financial health in different ways.  Sage has tailored solutions designed to meet the needs of particular business types. Let me introduce Sage.

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Measuring the service experience

The B2B Research Blog

Does your business have a service element?  Do you measure customer perceptions of the experience?  If so, you might want to take a quick look under the bonnet. Let me share a story.  It sounds far-fetched, but is true. Recently I took a holiday.  Not one to ever fully turn off though, I needed my smartphone.  Sadly, it too had decided to take a vacation.  No calls.  No emails.  “No problem” I thought.  I’ll just call the operator’s help desk and get back online.  Inevitably it wasn’t that simple although soon I was back in action. . Just a formality really and the score to give is ten”. 

The cost of losing a customer

The B2B Research Blog

The cost of losing a customer differs wildly between businesses so you need to calculate your own ‘customer loss index’.  Perhaps demand for their products has decreased, maybe innovations in their business mean that they now need less of what you sell, or it could be that they’ve started buying elsewhere.  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. Here’s how.

Using Regression Analysis in market research

The B2B Research Blog

Our goal in this study for a supplier of business software was to advise them on how to improve levels of customer satisfaction.  To do so, we first conducted a series of in-depth interviews with delighted, content and dis-satisfied customers to identify all the things which could potentially influence levels of satisfaction.  We complemented this with some internal workshops with customer facing staff to tap into their beliefs about what makes customers happy. However, these metrics alone are not enough.  Two approaches can take our understanding to that next level. and 0.7 value.

How to measure customer satisfaction in B2B markets

The B2B Research Blog

For example, within the area of account management you might ask them to rate their satisfaction with the Account Manager’s understanding of their business, their level of expertise, their attitude, their availability and so on. Most importantly, make sense of the findings, cascade them throughout your business and drive positive action on the back of them. How do you measure customer satisfaction in B2B markets?  What questions should you ask in a customer satisfaction survey? The cost, effort or risk of moving supplier is just too high8. There’s of course a lot more to it. 

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

The B2B Research Blog

It’s pretty clear to me through my work on Business Superbrands that branding is becoming more important in many b2b categories. That said there is still a battle for marketeers working in business-to-business to convince some of their peers that it’s important, but I think for most there is a feeling that they’re starting to win that battle. In Business Superbrands we look for three core factors, namely quality, reliability and distinction. We know that the employees are key for most business-to-business brands.  What makes a strong B2B brand?

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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.  The first are businesses in sectors where demand persistently outstrips supply.  After all, no one wants to work for the bad guy. .

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From insight to action

The B2B Research Blog

Have a beginning, middle and end – share the most important research findings but only to support the clear business recommendations made in the ‘final scene’. Sometimes the biggest challenge with customer insight is not doing the research, but doing something with it. You start with determination to put the customer at the centre of decisions.  You carefully design a robust survey.  Then….

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Not how you fly, but how you serve

The B2B Research Blog

And now BA is reminding us that it has always been in the service business.  (How long, I wonder, before we first see “To fry to serve” above a chip shop door in one of those backhanded nods to a strong strapline).  It was a great project and I’ve written about it elsewhere (read the original conference paper here:  branding and national stereotypes ).  An interesting advertising tack! 

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The B2B Research Blog

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Air Cargo News: Interview with Circle’s Andy Booth

The B2B Research Blog

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. 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. Booth also insists on the importance of brands in a business-to-business environment.