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News & Views

  1. Social media in B2B – the latest stats

    By Andrew Dalglish -

    B2B Social Infographic 2015_longThe allure of social media in B2B is growing rapidly. Over four in five marketing teams (83 per cent) now post on social media – an activity that consumes one fifth of their time (20 per cent) – and three quarters (77 per cent) expect to spend more time doing this over the next 12 months. In addition, just like an investor keenly eyeing their growing wealth portfolio, as the ‘value’ of social media in B2B rises, so too does the attention paid to tracking its performance. Over one third (35 per cent) of organisations now subscribe to a paid social media monitoring platform.

    However, this bounty is not being distributed equally. Instead, the power of social media is merging around two behemoths: Twitter and LinkedIn. These networks are used by over nine in 10 organisations, regularly updated by more than seven in 10, and are expected to have the strongest growth in usage of any social media channels over the next 12 months.

    At the other end of the spectrum, still struggling to scrape together a B2B living, is Google+. Used and updated by significantly fewer organisations, Google+ is considered to be less effective at achieving marketing goals. In fact, despite its obvious SEO benefits, fewer than one per cent of organisations think it is the most effective social media platform.

    As Twitter and LinkedIn continue their charge for dominance, it’s easy to assume they will continue to overshadow competitor networks. But wait – who’s that poking their head over the parapet? There’s another contender on the block: the ambitious maverick, YouTube. Despite currently having lower usage than Twitter or LinkedIn, this channel is nevertheless striving for high growth (a net 76 per cent growth in usage anticipated over the next 12 months).  In a world where the biggest challenge facing marketers on social media is cutting through the noise (38 per cent), YouTube is offering the promise of differentiation through rich media. While the majority of organisations are using social media as a side-act to funnel clients into bigger pieces of content on their websites (85 per cent), this isn’t always working too well – fewer than one in three (31 per cent) describe this as very effective. Instead, social media needs to become the star performer in its own right. The most compelling social media posts are infographics (67 per cent believe they are very effective) and videos (66 per cent). It is on this differentiated footing that YouTube is preparing its ascent up the B2B social media ladder.

    So the next time you’re embarking on a content plan, take time to consider how you can repurpose material in new and interesting formats on social media, whether that be Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube. Pull out those killer stats in an infographic, or have a chat with your CEO on film. Let social media become the star.

  2. The content king is a tyrant

    By Andrew Dalglish -
    Content marketing infographic

    Click to see full infographic

    The latest Content Marketing Benchmark Report produced by Circle Research and B2B Marketing Magazine reveals that B2B marketers have become slaves to content. 

    We all know that content is king.  Three quarters (71%) of B2B marketers say it’s a very important component of their marketing activity, and a similar number (66%) are being cheered on by their senior management team to produce more.

    There’s good sense in that.  Content is essential digital ‘fuel’ for social platforms, it’s invaluable in communicating brand expertise and it keeps buyers engaged throughout lengthy purchase cycles.

    But the content king is turning into a bit of a tyrant.  He’s working his loyal subjects to the bone and that’s beginning to take its toll.

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  3. The Cobbler’s Shoes

    By Andrew Dalglish -

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    In his latest blog for the Market Research Society’s news and insight hub Research Live, Circle Research’s Andrew Dalglish explores why research agencies should carry out research for their own benefit as well as clients’ …

    Ever heard the saying that ‘the cobbler’s children have no shoes’? The cobbler is so focused on everyone else’s shoes that he doesn’t think to use his expertise for the benefit of his own family.

    Research agencies are a bit like that. If you work for an agency, take a look at your own metaphorical shoe rack. How often do you conduct research for the benefit of your company rather than clients? And if you do any, do you do so with the frequency and rigour that you’d advocate to paying clients?

    So what’s on your shoe rack – a pair of Jimmy Choos, a tatty old pair of boots or nothing at all? If you’re unhappy with what you see, then there are three broad types of research which you might think about doing…

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  4. The secrets of employee motivation

    By Beth Pearson -

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

    This all means that attracting, developing and motivating top talent is critical to our industry’s future. What’s the secret? We recently conducted a survey of more than 800 white collar employees from a variety of industries to find out.

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  5. Why is B2B market research the poor cousin?

    By Andrew Dalglish -

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    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. Each side of the coin meets a different need and requires a different skill set. However, while there might not be a conceptual value judgement, there is a commercial one.  This is especially stark when B2C is compared with B2B. ESOMAR estimates that a whopping 16 times more is spent on B2C research than B2B (the Global Market Research 2014 Report estimates that 6% of global research spend is on B2B).

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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. The month in #mrx

    By Andrew Dalglish -

    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