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Is customer satisfaction really important in B2B?

The B2B Research Blog

Customer loyalty is critical to any business.  This truism sees many B2B companies striving to satisfy and even delight customers.  After all, the logic goes, if customers are happy then they won’t feel a need to change supplier – satisfaction leads inexorably to loyalty.  Higher levels of customer service. The post Is customer satisfaction really important in B2B?

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). They provide a snapshot of customer health but don’t in and of themselves reveal how to improve the position. 

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? small set of customer satisfaction KPIs should also be set and reported at Board level. 

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.  The cost of losing a customer differs wildly between businesses so you need to calculate your own ‘customer loss index’.  Here’s how.

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The B2B Marketer's Field Guide To Customer Engagement

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

Branding is b t

The B2B Research Blog

Your brand is your reputation – the thoughts and feelings triggered in a customer or prospect’s mind when they think of you. “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? So you might be convinced, but how do you persuade others who see branding as ‘marketing b t’? Go forth and spread the word!

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B2B market research – 10 unique features

The B2B Research Blog

As B2B markets tend to have a small number of disproportionately important customers in them, B2B research should reflect this. For example, quantitative studies might over-weight the views of large customers over smaller ones. Is B2B market research really that different from B2C?  And with good reason. The example is tongue-in-cheek, but the point is quite serious.

Does Big Data mean market research is dead?

The B2B Research Blog

That being the case, why bother asking customers themselves, especially as what people say they do, doesn’t always match what they actually do? Mining Big Data can reveal patterns in how customers behave and even predict future behaviour.  Second, Big Data tells us what, but not usually why.  If we are to influence customer behaviour then we need to know why they do what they do; their decision making processes and motivations. What do customers think about new product concepts?  Will surveys, focus groups and interviews become relics of a bygone age?

The month in #mrx

The B2B Research Blog

The ‘growth’ bit – it’s someone who is obsessively focussed on growing a metric, whatever that may be (customers, viewers, users…).  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. 

B2B Marketing Trends for 2016

And they expect an optimized customer experience from end to end. Manage the customer experience: great content alone won't save a lousy product or cumbersome experience. always make more content, their customers can't make any more time. will be forced to value "fit" over "reach" where they target the customers that fit. or current customer is. B2B Marketing.

The secrets of successful B2B marketing

The B2B Research Blog

Based on deep insights into customers – their motivations, needs and behaviours. 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. And it’s a tool to build support for marketing from across the business by articulating the function’s benefit. Be formed around a clear value proposition.

Which B2B brands do you most respect?

The B2B Research Blog

But those on the front-line who customers deal with day-in-day-out need to make it a reality. Be obsessively customer centric. Strong brands stand for something relevant to customers. 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. Don’t just state it, live it.

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How B2B brands approach Twitter

The B2B Research Blog

They hold conversations with followers, those followed and the wider ‘Twitterverse’ either to resolve customer service issues or build bonds. 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. One fifth (18 per cent) are Niche Attractions (250 – 500). Quality over quantity.

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. 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). 50% are using it to develop personalised communications for individual customers.

It’s all about the lead

The B2B Research Blog

Leading the pack is email marketing – 42% name email as one of their most effective lead generation channels when targeting new customers. . 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.  It seems that lead generation is not cheap. 

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The Rise of the Customer Marketer

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

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.  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.

Top ten B2B marketing challenges

The B2B Research Blog

Notably, many of these challenges relate either to the basic principles of marketing – using customer insights and a segmented view to stand out in a profitable manner – or a key executional tool – data.  Holger Schulze, Marketing Director at SafeNet, recently posted a great question to the 9,040 members of LinkedIn’s B2B Marketing group. love this question for two reasons.  Differentiation.

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Getting to the top of the marketing tree

The B2B Research Blog

They also need knowledge – a deep understanding of their market, real insight into what makes customers tick and experience in all the key marketing disciplines. 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.  They: Are strategic, big picture thinkers with a clear vision. Have business acumen and a commercial focus.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) in B2B – the evidence

The B2B Research Blog

Being based on one straightforward question (see here) which can be asked at multiple touchpoints without placing onerous demands on customers’ time, collecting NPS data is relatively straightforward. Underpinning NPS is the idea that if a customer is likely to recommend a business or product, then they themselves stay loyal and they spread positive word-of-mouth. It’s a focal point.

B2B Loyalty, The B2C Way

Find out how consumer loyalty principles can help B2B companies reward, recognize, and engage their customers

Generation Y: Implications for the workplace

The B2B Research Blog

A client recently asked us to present to a group of CIOs from their enterprise customers.  What implications, they wanted to know, does Generation Y have for the workplace? Defining Generation Y. First, let’s define Generation Y.  That’s not as easy as it sounds.  Generations have ‘fuzzy edges’ so it’s not always clear where they start and end.  Some definitions of Generation Y include anyone born from the late 1970s all the way up to the early noughties.  Why is everyone of this age grouped together?  The Four Cs that shaped Generation Y. The six traits of Generation Y.

Eight ways B2B market research differs from B2C

The B2B Research Blog

Take a holistic perspective so that events in another part of the customer’s eco-system don’t catch you off guard. Don’t try and bypass those who ‘own’ the customer relationship – they and their customers may react negatively.  Warning.  Market research can be bad for your health. It can actively hurt business performance by drawing misleading conclusions.  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. Now, don’t get me wrong. 

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Who owns your brand? B2B brand perceptions research

The B2B Research Blog

Customers and prospects top the list because their perceptions impact sales.  Your organisation doesn’t own its brand.   It can shape it, manage it, but never own it. That’s because a brand is not what an organisation says it is.  It’s what the market believes it to be.  It’s a perception developed through the sum of an individual’s experience. Through every encounter they’ve had with your organisation, your employees or products.  Through what they hear from you and about you. Most may know what they want their brand to be, but not what it actually is. So what should we measure?

The B2B marketer’s world is changing

The B2B Research Blog

Many marketers are finding that alongside core audiences such as customers and prospects, they are now also tasked with marketing towards potential employees. 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. Well, some perennial challenges remain the same.  It always has been (and probably always will be) tough to get buy-in from colleagues, effectively achieve cut-through and measure ROI.

B2B Marketing Trends for 2016

And they expect an optimized customer experience from end to end. Manage the customer experience: great content alone won't save a lousy product or cumbersome experience. always make more content, their customers can't make any more time. will be forced to value "fit" over "reach" where they target the customers that fit. or current customer is. B2B Marketing.

Green shoots? Highlights from the B2B Barometer survey

The B2B Research Blog

The fourth involves better harnessing the revenue potential in existing customers through up- and cross-selling (38%). 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. Email (11%).

Eight ways B2B market research differs from B2C

The B2B Research Blog

Take a holistic perspective so that events in another part of the customer’s eco-system don’t catch you off guard. Don’t try and bypass those who ‘own’ the customer relationship – they and their customers may react negatively.  Warning.  Market research can be bad for your health. It can actively hurt business performance by drawing misleading conclusions.  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. Now, don’t get me wrong. 

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Three reasons B2B marketers should care about sustainability

The B2B Research Blog

So our involvement can be absolutely critical to clients.  We operate on our clients’ premises, we use their utilities, we feed them, we feed their own employees and we feed their customers, we manage their facilities to make sure that they are safe, comfortable, productive places. 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.  Well, no.  How do you define it?

47% of B2B marketers endorse using sex to sell

The B2B Research Blog

Kate Bishop, Marketing Co-ordinator at Custom Fluidpower, has a dilemma.   To use, or not to use, promotional girls at a trade show stand? 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. 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.

B2B Marketing Trends for 2016

And they expect an optimized customer experience from end to end. Manage the customer experience: great content alone won't save a lousy product or cumbersome experience. always make more content, their customers can't make any more time. will be forced to value "fit" over "reach" where they target the customers that fit. or current customer is. B2B Marketing.

Three customer insights for your marketing plan

The B2B Research Blog

The most fruitful of these plans are built on customer insights.  We all know that successful marketing propositions perfectly align with customer needs and wants.   But here assumption and guess-work abound.  First, directly ask customers how they make decisions, especially what makes them choose one supplier over another then remain loyal.  Through smart questioning and clever pattern-spotting maths, these techniques deduce what truly motivates behaviour.  It’s not always what you’d assume or what customers tell you. Of course, not all customers are the same. 

An interview with Jaakko Alanko: MD, Alanko Consulting

The B2B Research Blog

We’ve seen a scaling-up or ‘industrialisation’ of the whole process of customer relationship management.  You can call it search for customer insight or target audience analysis, or any other techy term we use in our industry.  But it’s not just customer insight, it’s also seller insight.  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. And I always admire The Economist.  It has so much customer insight. 

From insight to action

The B2B Research Blog

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.  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’. You carefully design a robust survey.  Then…. Well, nothing. Be inclusive.

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Making ‘human-to-human’ marketing a reality

The B2B Research Blog

And two, companies (or more accurately the people representing them) with the same firmographic profile, often have very different preferences.  In contrast, the minority (39%) segment in a way which allows personalisation – based on what their customers do, want or think. January is the month for predictions.  Flicking through the various forecasts of what 2015 holds for B2B, common themes emerge.  Some trends are at the start of the adoption curve, e.g. programmatic advertising.  Some are about taking a pretty well-established practice and doing it better, e.g. content. 

Better B2B segmentation: Four steps and a case study

The B2B Research Blog

Having set this broad parameter, the next step is to identify meaningful sub-groups by getting close to and contrasting customers: • Do they have different behaviour and consumption patterns? • Do they have different motivations, needs and preferences? • Do they have different supplier selection criteria? • Do they have different attitudes and personalities? 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.

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Three customer insights for your marketing plan

The B2B Research Blog

The most fruitful of these plans are built on customer insights.  We all know that successful marketing propositions perfectly align with customer needs and wants.   But here assumption and guess-work abound.  First, directly ask customers how they make decisions, especially what makes them choose one supplier over another then remain loyal.  Through smart questioning and clever pattern-spotting maths, these techniques deduce what truly motivates behaviour.  It’s not always what you’d assume or what customers tell you. Of course, not all customers are the same. 

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. Soon you will receive The Customer Experience Survey” I was told as the call ended.  Worse still, rather than improve the customer experience, it’s been damaged. The measurement of customer experience is a good thing.  It ensures performance where it matters, drives improvement and ultimately can boost customer loyalty.   What lessons has your customer experience measurement programme revealed? 

Business-to-business (B2B) pricing strategy research – part 1

The B2B Research Blog

This continues until the highest price they are willing to pay is reached.  By pooling data from all respondents, a demand curve can then be formed which shows the percentage of customers that would be likely to buy the product at different price points.  When developing the optimum pricing strategy in business-to-business (B2B) markets, it’s essential to have insights into how the market is likely to react when a product or service is sold at different price points.  This week I take a look at the Gabor-Granger and Brand Price Trade Off (BPTO) techniques. Gabor-Granger.

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.  For example, Ryanair enjoys strong year-on-year passenger growth but customers frequently complain about the Ryanair experience. .