The B2B Research Blog

The big trends in B2B marketing

The B2B Research Blog

They litter the pages of most B2B publications and follow a distinct formula: big picture of product + cliché + text heavy, functional arguments = a B2B advert. 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. Nope, it was a far more informed perspective – that of leaders from the UK’s 75 largest B2B marketing agencies who were recently surveyed as part of the B2B Agency Benchmarking Report.

Is customer satisfaction really important in B2B?

The B2B Research Blog

This advantage is usually in one of four areas: A better quality product or service. Customer loyalty is critical to any business. Obvious but true, especially for B2B companies who, unlike their consumer focussed counterparts, have a relatively limited pool of buyers to target.

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Using Regression Analysis in market research

The B2B Research Blog

Satisfaction in regard to four high-level factors – product quality, consultancy on product use, technical support and quality of the relationship. Satisfaction with product. What areas of the product should we focus on to increase overall satisfaction?

B2B competitor research – 8 free sources of information

The B2B Research Blog

Your competitors, just like you, need to promote their products and in making their case they need to reveal details of product functionality, price, key USPs and more. Generally speaking, I think that the best approach to competition is to ignore it. 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.

Effective B2B Marketing Content That Will Lead to Sales Growth

Effective marketing content leads to increased sales productivity, more revenue, greater marketing effectiveness and stronger alignment between marketing and sales

The benefits of a strong brand in B2B markets

The B2B Research Blog

The functional and emotional benefits (yes, even in B2B) to be derived from working with your organisation or products. It’s a point of differentiation, especially in commoditised markets where there is little apparent difference between products and services. A strong brand also comes into its own in situations where it is difficult to compare products and services (e.g. if the buyer has limited knowledge, if the product is complex) as it suggests inherent quality.

Tapping into emotions in the B2B buying process

The B2B Research Blog

Then make it as easy as possible for buyers to choose your product or service. Shock! B2B buyers are people. Seems obvious, right? Yet marketers often treat B2B buyers as automatons making careful, logical and completely rational decisions during the buying process. That’s simply not the case as B2B buyers are influenced by their emotions too. As a B2B marketer you can use this to your advantage by tapping into the emotional dimensions of decision making.

Branding terminology and jargon explained

The B2B Research Blog

Three key phrases concern how the brand is recognised: Brand name : What the company calls itself and its products. For example, ‘Apple’ is the corporate brand name and ‘iPhone’ is the product brand name. 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.

Financial benchmarks for B2B marketing agencies

The B2B Research Blog

So if your ratio is below this, it may indicate productivity or over-staffing issues. 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.

How to measure customer satisfaction in B2B markets

The B2B Research Blog

For example, even disgruntled customers may remain loyal because: A supplier offers a significant product or price advantage. 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.

The secrets of successful B2B marketing

The B2B Research Blog

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?’.

The cost of losing a customer

The B2B Research Blog

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 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.

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It’s all about the lead

The B2B Research Blog

For those selling ‘big ticket’ products or services (worth more than £5,000) the average cost is £903. 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

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. Net Promoter Score (NPS).

The secrets of employee motivation

The B2B Research Blog

Our product is the insight extracted from these raw materials by clever folk. 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. And an agency or client-side researcher can only make a difference if they’re skilled at building relationships with key stakeholders.

The seven R’s of thought leadership

The B2B Research Blog

Demonstrating genuine, unparalleled expertise is especially critical in any sector where the product is, well, expertise. Thought leadership. Everyone’s claiming it but, by very definition, only a handful ever delivers. So how do you ensure that your content marketing strategy positions you as one of the few? . Follow the seven R’s – Resonant, Rare, Road Mapped, Robust, Rounded, Rooted and Re-used. Five reasons to develop a thought leadership strategy.

SME marketing channel preferences revealed

The B2B Research Blog

Moreover, they’re big buyers of B2B products and services. Rather, in most product categories they can be clustered into distinct groups based on behaviours, preferences and attitudes. 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. Just ask Sage who’s built a £1.4 billion business on the back of them.

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Who owns your brand? B2B brand perceptions research

The B2B Research Blog

Through every encounter they’ve had with your organisation, your employees or products. 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 what they hear from you and about you.

Why is B2B market research the poor cousin?

The B2B Research Blog

Behind every single consumer product sit many, many B2B products. 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.

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Three reasons B2B marketers should care about sustainability

The B2B Research Blog

Sustainability is also starting to drive another of marketing’s remits: product innovation. 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. It means that people are happier, they’re better motivated and more productive.

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47% of B2B marketers endorse using sex to sell

The B2B Research Blog

At a tactical level it seems counter-productive. 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.

Three customer insights for your marketing plan

The B2B Research Blog

Identifying segments on this basis leads to a much better ROI – marcomms resonate, propositions have greater appeal and new products see higher demand. A much deeper approach to marketing can be taken if you know what the customer’s working environment is like, what tasks consume their day, what makes them successful (as an organisation and an individual) and where your products/services fit in. Spring.

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An interview with Jaakko Alanko: MD, Alanko Consulting

The B2B Research Blog

We’ve seen a clear move away from product marketing to service and solution marketing; there’s been less focus on the technical or physical item, but a much stronger emphasis on the expertise, skills and knowledge of the organisation that is doing the selling. 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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Three customer insights for your marketing plan

The B2B Research Blog

Identifying segments on this basis leads to a much better ROI – marcomms resonate, propositions have greater appeal and new products see higher demand (read more on B2B market segmentation research here ). A much deeper approach to marketing can be taken if you know what the customer’s working environment is like, what tasks consume their day, what makes them successful (as an organisation and an individual) and where your products/services fit in. Spring.

B2B Marcomms Agency League – highlights

The B2B Research Blog

We’ve the juicy challenge of bringing to life what can often, at face value, be rather dry products and engaging with buyers on an emotional as well as functional basis. Aren’t we B2B marketers are blessed? We’ve the intellectual stimulation that comes from getting to grips with complex markets and decision making processes.

B2B Marcomms Agency League – highlights

The B2B Research Blog

We’ve the juicy challenge of bringing to life what can often, at face value, be rather dry products and engaging with buyers on an emotional as well as functional basis. Aren’t we B2B marketers are blessed? We’ve the intellectual stimulation that comes from getting to grips with complex markets and decision making processes. The average satisfaction score given by clients to their agency is 8.3 out of 10.

Better B2B segmentation: Four steps and a case study

The B2B Research Blog

This struck me as the B2B equivalent of targeting a FMCG product at everybody under the age of 70. Deeper understanding of what makes the market tick, products that better meet requirements, messages that resonate and optimum use of resources as only genuine prospects are targeted. 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.

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Not how you fly, but how you serve

The B2B Research Blog

BA service has always been strong and product development has been at the forefront historically. 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.

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10 myths about ‘corporate purpose’

The B2B Research Blog

Businesses buy from other businesses because they offer the best combination of product and price. B2B is rational, right? And employees choose to work at your company because of the salary. Simple. Except it’s not. It’s critical to remember that businesses are really just groups of people bound by shared objectives, and therefore intangibles – feelings and emotions – play a huge role in business decisions every day. As a buyer, do I like the business I’m looking to purchase from?

B2B competitor research – 8 free sources of information

The B2B Research Blog

Your competitors, just like you, need to promote their products and in making their case they need to reveal details of product functionality, price, key USPs and more. Generally speaking, I think that the best approach to competition is to ignore it. 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.

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

The B2B Research Blog

The sort of questions we ask are: do the products and services delivered by the brand represent good quality? If you want the best talent to deliver your products and service, you’ve got to have a strong brand. Now take a functional sub-product like websites comparing insurance products. One criticism of B2B is that just because the product may be boring it seems to suggest that suppliers should be boring too.

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Create a B2B customer journey map in six steps

The B2B Research Blog

This includes how they form opinions or educate themselves about your category, what triggers their need to buy your product or service, how they identify and evaluate prospective suppliers, the interactions they have with suppliers post-purchase and what causes them to change supplier. Relationships are critical in B2B markets. That’s why every B2B organisation should have a customer journey map.

Create a B2B customer journey map in six steps

The B2B Research Blog

This includes how they form opinions or educate themselves about your category, what triggers their need to buy your product or service, how they identify and evaluate prospective suppliers, the interactions they have with suppliers post-purchase and what causes them to change supplier. Relationships are critical in B2B markets. That’s why every B2B organisation should have a customer journey map.

Tapping into emotions in the B2B buying process

The B2B Research Blog

Then make it as easy as possible for buyers to choose your product or service. Shock! B2B buyers are people. Seems obvious, right? Yet marketers often treat B2B buyers as automatons making careful, logical and completely rational decisions during the buying process. That’s simply not the case as B2B buyers are influenced by their emotions too. As a B2B marketer you can use this to your advantage by tapping into the emotional dimensions of decision making.

Lessons from the 2017 Business Superbrands

The B2B Research Blog

Thirdly and closely associated with this last point, gone are the days when B2B brands were judged primarily on the basis of their functional qualities (such as product quality, availability or suitability) or when decision making was seen as logical, rational and hierarchical. In a world of non-differentiated products and services there’s a clear opportunity for B2B brands to focus on how the buyer or user feels about the experience, rather than what the product or service actually does.

Lessons from the 2017 Business Superbrands

The B2B Research Blog

Thirdly and closely associated with this last point, gone are the days when B2B brands were judged primarily on the basis of their functional qualities (such as product quality, availability or suitability) or when decision making was seen as logical, rational and hierarchical. In a world of non-differentiated products and services there’s a clear opportunity for B2B brands to focus on how the buyer or user feels about the experience, rather than what the product or service actually does.

Map of the B2B buying process

The B2B Research Blog

That negative chatter has a big impact as 42% won’t buy from a supplier known for bad customer service, even if that supplier has a significantly better product than competitors. Other than price, two ‘hard’ factors are critical here – product quality and the after-sales service coupled with it (17% and 14% of buyers respectively, say these are the most important drivers of choice for them).

Business-to-business (B2B) pricing strategy research – part 2

The B2B Research Blog

To do so, respondents are shown the product and asked to indicate: The price at which it would be too cheap to be of credible quality. At each price point mentioned, the cumulative percentage of respondents placing the product into each of the four categories above is calculated. It doesn’t allow the creation of tiered offerings where customers can choose the ‘standard’ product or upgrade to an enhanced version for a price premium.

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

The B2B Research Blog

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. To do so, survey respondents are shown the product at an initial price point and asked how likely they would be to buy it. In some situations, products are very similar and the brand is the primary determinant of the price people are willing to pay.

Branding terminology and jargon explained

The B2B Research Blog

Three key phrases concern how the brand is recognised: Brand name : What the company calls itself and its products. For example, ‘Apple’ is the corporate brand name and ‘iPhone’ is the product brand name. 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.