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News & Views

  1. Business volunteering – people or profits?

    By Beth Pearson -

    People or Profits ReportLast year we started a volunteering programme here at Circle.  We’d always supported various charities through donations or fundraising, but felt that perhaps our time might be just as valuable.

    So as a company we pledged to donate a month of our time in ‘man-hours’ every year to charity and worthwhile causes.  In part we did so by volunteering at an inner-city school in London.  But our focus was on donating our services pro bono – after all, we’re research professionals so surely the greatest value we can offer is in sharing this specialist expertise.   The result is the People or Profits Report.

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  2. The benefits of marketing automation aren’t automatic

    By Andrew Dalglish -

    Predictions that 2015 is the year of marketing automation seem to be spot on.  The latest Benchmarking Report from B2B Marketing reveals that the vast majority of B2B marketers have either adopted an automation solution (43%) or plan to in the next 12 months (45%).  If you’re about to take the plunge there are some valuable lessons to be taken from those who have gone before.

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  3. What system 1 and 2 thinking mean for B2B marketers

    By Andrew Dalglish -

    A clever chap called Daniel Kahneman has a theory.

    When making decisions there are two systems in our mind which influence the outcome.  System 1 works at a sub-conscious level without us knowing it.  Using intuition and beliefs about how the world works, it makes a rapid assessment of the situation then quickly settles on a course of action.  In contrast, system 2 works at a conscious level.  Using deliberative reasoning and logic, it carefully evaluates the situation before reaching a conclusion.

    In everyday life we rely mostly on system 1 to effortlessly make decisions, but occasionally system 2 is called in.  This happens in complex scenarios, when the situation is new or when system 2 suspects that system 1 may have reached the wrong conclusion.

    Now, what does all this mean for B2B marketers?

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  4. Shape the B2B Barometer

    By Andrew Dalglish -

    The B2B Barometer has been a consistent feature of the B2B landscape since 2009.  Now it’s evolving and you can shape its future.

    The B2B Barometer was designed as a ‘state of the nation’ study.  At a macro-level this gives a measure of our industry’s health and reveals key trends.  At a micro-level it gives you a sense of how your approach to marketing compares to that of your peers.

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  5. The month in #mrx

    By Beth Pearson -

    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.  The #mrx hashtag saw a leap in popularity with more than 20,000 tweets in the month.  “Finally”, I thought, “research is quite a cool industry to be in”.  But my joy was short-lived (although I still maintain that research is cool).  It turns out that our beloved hashtag had been adopted by Bollywood fans to discuss the hotly anticipated new film Mr. X. Continue reading

  6. Making ‘human-to-human’ marketing a reality

    By Andrew Dalglish -

    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.  And others are about going back to basics, e.g. influencer marketing.

    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.

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  7. Are B2B agencies adapting quickly enough?

    By Andrew Dalglish -

    Of the 70 agencies that feature in this year’s B2B Marketing Agency League, 10 show no or negative turnover growth.  In past years this could be explained away by a recessionary environment.  However, the UK economy is once again growing and this is feeding through to B2B marketing budgets.  In Q3 2014 the B2B Barometer study found that 56% of B2B marketers have seen their budget grow in the last 12 months, with an average increase of 19% (you can find the full results of the B2B Barometer here: http://goo.gl/tk3Mez) .

    So why are these agencies struggling?

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  8. B2B market research – 10 unique features

    By Andrew Dalglish -

    Is B2B market research really that different from B2C?  Well in a nutshell, yes.  In this blog post Circle’s Andrew Dalglish explores the 10 key differences that make B2B research unique. Share your thoughts on Circle Research’s Twitter page.

    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. And with good reason. Both can keep you warm, but there are some blindingly obvious differences such the physical features and the level of danger (although some of those skinny jeans can be quite hazardous if one lunges unexpectedly).

    The example is tongue-in-cheek, but the point is quite serious. There are fundamental differences between B2C and B2B markets.  In fact, as illustrated in the infographic below, there are 12 key features which make B2B markets unique.

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  9. A wake up call for market research agencies

    By David Willan -

    GreenboGRIT Reok has just published the latest edition of the GRIT Report.  The study, now in its 11th year and based on the opinions of 1,400+ practitioners, monitors trends in the market research industry.

    The report is a real wake-up call for market research agencies.  Sadly only a select few seem to be listening.

    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”.  Five years on, that’s still the case.  When describing the ideal research project clients cite three defining features:

    1. Analysis is rigorous and there’s a clear storyline
    2. There’s a good connection with marketers (i.e. the research team engage well with them)
    3. It changes the attitude and decisions of marketing executives

    And when asked what qualities are important to them in a research agency, research users put three things at the top of their list:

    1. Knowledgeable staff (69% rate as ‘very important’)
    2. Listen well and understand needs (72%)
    3. High quality analysis (64%)

    Note this.  Not once has ‘research’ been mentioned.  Indeed only 14% of clients say ‘using sophisticated research techniques’ is very important.  No, it’s all about what an agency can do with the research – how their people interpret it, align it to business goals and engage with those using it.  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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