The B2B Research Blog

Five B2B marketing predictions that will come true in 2018

The B2B Research Blog

The B2B Marketing Trend Tracker reveals that five trends will become mainstream in 2018, with the majority of B2B marketers investing considerable time and money into them as we speak: Improving the customer experience. Interested in improving the customer experience? Here we share six steps to creating a customer journey map. Everyone’s a futurologist at this time of year and most of them spout complete bollocks.

The big trends in B2B marketing

The B2B Research Blog

That most B2B markets follow the 80:20 rule, where 80% of income comes from just 20% of customers. Of course, using ABM for every single customer is simply impractical and not worth the effort. I recently shared a view on the big trends in B2B marketing at the MRS B2B Conference. Well, I shared it, but in truth it wasn’t my view.

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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.

Tips for B2B customer satisfaction research

The B2B Research Blog

Customers are your lifeblood. That’s why every B2B business needs a programme of regular customer satisfaction research. 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. Too many customer satisfaction studies focus on what’s going wrong. Include options in the survey for customers to request immediate contact about an issue or concern.

Empathy: Your Lead Generation Superpower

Speaker: Brian Carroll, CEO & Founder of markempa

There has never been more marketing channels to reach potential customers. That's why we need to go beyond rational-logic based marketing to understand how our customers feel. The single biggest issue for B2B growth is effective lead generation: increasing lead quality and quantity.

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?

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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?

B2B competitor research – 8 free sources of information

The B2B Research Blog

Instead of fretting about what others are doing, if you just focus on delighting your customers and exceeding their needs then you’ll thrive commercially. However, if shareholders aren’t going to be liable for the debts, then its only fair that potential customers or suppliers can judge whether the company itself is stable or about to go under. But in B2B markets this kind of customer review information isn’t usually available. Your customers.

Business to business market research just 4% of spend

The B2B Research Blog

But in my experience, market research is less common in business to business markets and three cultural reasons seem to underpin this: Business to business purchases are seen as ‘rational’ which can lead to the mind-set that “it’s obvious what customers want, so we don’t need to ask”. In business to business markets customer numbers are limited and relationships with sales teams close.

Seven Things Marketers Need to Know About Lead Generation

Speaker: Douglas Burdett, Host of The Marketing Book Podcast, Founder/Principal of ARTILLERY

Instead of finding customers with mass advertising and email blasts, marketers must now focus on being found and learn to build continuous relationships with buyers.

The cost of losing a customer

The B2B Research Blog

What’s the cost of losing a customer? ‘A 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. Cost per lost customer.

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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.

How to conduct a business to business survey

The B2B Research Blog

If a valued customer or prospect receives a poorly designed survey, they’ll quite rightly question how much you really value them and their opinion. There are six steps if you’re looking to conduct your own business to business survey. One, clearly define your objectives. Two, design a questionnaire which meets these and avoids common pitfalls (overly long with leading, double-barrelled, jargon filled, ambiguous questions). Three, pilot the survey.

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. 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?

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.

Developing a Conversational Approach

Speaker: Carlos Hidalgo, CEO & Founder of VisumCx

B2B buyers are more sophisticated than ever before, from the customers’ initial discovery, to the moment they commit to buy. With information at their fingertips, the chances are that potential customers have already met you, judged you and have a firm impression on your company and products.

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.

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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.

How Big Data will shape the researcher of 2020

The B2B Research Blog

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.

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. First, marketing needs to have a strategic vision.

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. It minimises the effort the customer needs to put in. It provides a one-touch resolution – customers aren’t passed from pillar to post.

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. .

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. Enhance your customers’ experienceNet Promoter Score (NPS).

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.

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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 one particular question which had me on the edge of my seat: What attributes does a successful B2B marketer have?

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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.

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.

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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.

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. .

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.

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. First, directly ask customers how they make decisions, especially what makes them choose one supplier over another then remain loyal. It’s not always what you’d assume or what customers tell you. Of course, not all customers are the same. What’s on the customer’s mind? Spring.

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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.

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Three reasons B2B marketers should care about sustainability

The B2B Research Blog

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. By definition our 43,000 employees represent a diverse workforce who in turn serve an incredibly diverse range of clients and customers.

47% of B2B marketers endorse using sex to sell

The B2B Research Blog

Kate Bishop, Marketing Co-ordinator at Custom Fluidpower, has a dilemma. 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. To use, or not to use, promotional girls at a trade show stand? Her boss is insistent but she has concerns. I share them.

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. First, directly ask customers how they make decisions, especially what makes them choose one supplier over another then remain loyal. It’s not always what you’d assume or what customers tell you. Of course, not all customers are the same. What’s on the customer’s mind? Spring.

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. The totality means all the assets that belong to an enterprise – its people, products, its capabilities and also the potential to form partnerships with customers.

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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. Act as or appoint a champion – someone who represents the ‘voice of the customer’ and reminds colleagues of the insight until it’s acted upon. You carefully design a robust survey. You intelligently analyse the findings to get to the heart of the issue. Then…. Well, nothing.

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Measuring the service experience

The B2B Research Blog

Do you measure customer perceptions of the experience? 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. Measure the right things – the things that customers care about and truly drive loyalty.

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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? • 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.

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Making ‘human-to-human’ marketing a reality

The B2B Research Blog

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.