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B2B marketing communications and advertising research

Circle is an expert in B2B marketing communications and advertising research. Through a programme of primary research we’ll help your marketing campaigns to cut-through and make a bigger impact by:

  • Identifying the optimum marketing channels and messages
  • Testing marketing communications and advertising materials
  • Measuring campaign impact

Based on these insights we’ll then make clear recommendations about the optimum campaign strategy and how to increase ROI.

Over the last decade we’ve helped dozens of world-leading B2B brands to optimise their marketing communications and advertising.  Brands like Microsoft, Mastercard, Standard Life and Merck. We couple this extensive experience with a deep understanding of B2B marketing and a suite of smart techniques which probe far beyond the superficial.

The result is research which makes a real difference.

Our guiding principles

Our guiding principles

Based on our extensive experience and the self-funded research undertaken by our CircleLabs™ team, we’ve developed an exclusive model which explains the dynamics of marketing communications and advertising in B2B markets. This model guides (but never constrains) our approach and is based on six fundamental observations:

1. To have any effect a marketing message needs to be seen by the target audience and the more it’s seen, the more it’s likely to stick (but with diminishing returns). There are three routes to exposure – a presence in the target audience’s eco-system (e.g. trade events, trade media advertising), direct communications (e.g. email marketing) and being present when they’re actively seeking information (e.g. SEO)

2. The more attention paid to a message, the deeper it penetrates and the firmer hold it takes. Higher levels of attention also push up message understanding (see point 4) as it is processed more thoroughly. The level of attention a member of the target audience gives to a marketing communication is influenced by recipient’s mental state, surrounding noise, relevance of the message and the ‘grabbing’ power of the execution

3. Each subsequent building block in campaign effectiveness is dependent on these first two. Removing either of them collapses the whole pile. For example, attention cannot be given without there first being exposure, or a message cannot be understood if no attention is paid to it

4. To have the desired effect, a marketing message not only needs to be seen and digested, it also needs to be understood. Furthermore, what the recipient takes from the message should match what you wanted them to take from it

5. Experience with the brand and its reputation will impact whether a message is believed. If the message is not credible (or fails to effectively counter any cynicism), then it is rejected and may lead to negative sentiment

6. Unless the desire is simply to convey information, the message needs to appeal to the recipient as the more it appeals the more it’s likely to influence them. However, unless it’s also unique its power is diminished as the message becomes harder to ‘own’

Read Case Study

Farnell element14

Farnell element14 has a significant annual marketing budget and was investing in many channels including email marketing, Pay-Per-Click (PPC), direct mail and trade advertising. But determining the return on investment from these types of activities is tough – the impact is not always measurable and ’cause and effect’ is not always obvious. Any result may also be indirect and more about enhanced brand strength which will impact future sales, rather than specific revenue increase.

Given these difficulties measuring ROI, like many B2B organisations Farnell element14 was unsure of exactly where to target its marketing investment for the optimal return. The brief to Circle was to give a definitive answer to the question ‘how do we best communicate with our target audience across Europe?’

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