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News & Views

  1. 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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  2. 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

  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. The 19 B2B brands in the Klout 50 ranking

    By Andrew Dalglish -

    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. As you’d expect the list includes big-hitters from the consumer world. Brands like Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Nike. But more surprising is how many B2B brands are featured. Nineteen of the 50 brands listed have a significant or exclusive B2B focus to their business*.

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  8. Report: The Ambitious SME

    By Beth Pearson -

    SME businesses are a passion of mine.  I founded one (Circle!) and as a B2B specialist I regularly explore the opinions and behaviours of SMEs.

    But before I go on, let’s be careful with that label of ‘SME’. Even if we exclude sole traders, there are still more than one million SMEs in the UK alone. Inevitably with a group of that size, there’s a lot of diversity – different attitudes, behaviours, needs and opinions. So, to define your target market as ‘SMEs’ is a good start, but misses an awful lot of nuance (that deserves a blog post all of its own – see my colleague Andrew Dalglish’s exploration here).

    That said, there is something which in my experience is common to most SMEs – ambition.

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