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News & Views

  1. Five B2B marketing predictions that will come true in 2018

    By Andrew Dalglish -

    Everyone’s a futurologist at this time of year and most of them spout complete bollocks. From their high horses they tell you where you need to be focusing your energy and budgets in 2018 lest you’re left behind. The source of their wisdom? Usually a combination of their own narrow experience, what they’ve been reading recently and a Google search on what others are predicting (safety in numbers you see).

    Here’s a thought. How about we base our predictions on hard data and real-world behaviour rather than theories.

    That’s exactly what Circle did with our friends at B2B Marketing. In November/December 2017 we surveyed 350 B2B marketers and asked them to indicate how focused they were on 14 different trends right now. They did so using a sliding scale where 100 represented an all-consuming focus on that activity and zero indicated that it wasn’t even on their radar. We’ll be tracking how this focus changes over time to reveal which trends are becoming main-stream, those rising up the agenda and those which were always just fads.

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  2. Three foundation insights for any ABM strategy

    By Beth Pearson -

    Take a look at your customer base and, if you’re a B2B company, you’ll find that it probably follows the 80:20 rule where the majority of sales (often around 80%) come from a small proportion of customers (that’s the 20%).

    That being the case, it makes sense to focus your resources on these high value customers as that will give you more bang for your buck.  That’s the principle underpinning Account Based Marketing (ABM), an approach where a separate marketing plan is created for each high value (or high potential) account.

    If you’re planning to adopt an ABM approach though, it’s essential that your strategy is based on thorough research.  Otherwise, you’ll simply be mass marketing to a smaller group.  Here’s the three insights which should form the foundation of any ABM strategy.

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  3. 3 tips when deploying a B2B Marketing Automation platform

    By Beth Pearson -

    There are five key ingredients for B2B marketing success (see the full blog post here):

    1. Have a clear strategic vision
    2. Carefully craft a detailed plan of attack
    3. Keep messaging clear and consistent, and support it with high-quality content
    4. Invest considerable time and effort into sales and marketing alignment
    5. Put the right human and physical infrastructure in place.

    Central to that latter point is the adoption of marketing technology, especially automation. The case for marketing automation (MA) is persuasive, and the B2B Marketing Automation Sophistication Index produced by Circle Research and B2B Marketing reveals it has reached a tipping point. When we measured adoption in 2015, the minority (43%) of B2B marketers had put an MA system in place. In 2017 the majority (56%) of the 126 B2B marketers surveyed had taken the plunge.  Automation is now becoming the norm.

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  4. The big trends in B2B marketing

    By Andrew Dalglish -

    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.  We asked them to name the single biggest trend in B2B marketing, and here’s what they told us:

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  5. Five tips to win a marketing scholarship

    By Andrew Dalglish -

    Here are two facts.  One, the average UK student will graduate with £32,000 of debt.  Two, any services firm is only as good as their people.  So, students need money and the research industry needs to attract the best talent.  That got us thinking here at Circle.  Why not create a symbiotic relationship where agencies give a bit of cash to contribute to talent development at the ‘grass roots’ level, and then reap the benefits when the next generation enters the workplace?

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  6. B2B competitor research – 8 free sources of information

    By Andrew Dalglish -

    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.  That said, having an eye the competition is a useful check to ensure that you’re keeping pace with the market and not missing a trick.

    And you know what, it’s amazingly easy to secure the inside track.  Here are eight free sources of competitor information for those operating in B2B markets:

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  7. Circle teams up with the Next 15 Group

    By Andrew Dalglish -

    Over the last couple of years we’ve been exploring three big questions here at Circle.  How do we keep our research tools at the cutting edge?  How can we provide our international clients with the ‘on-the-ground’ presence which can sometimes be helpful?  And most importantly, how can we achieve this whilst retaining the Circle magic which clients love?

    After careful consideration, we’ve decided that joining forces with a partner who allows Circle to operate autonomously, but gives us access to additional resources, is the best way to achieve these goals.  So today I’m delighted to announce that Circle has joined Next 15 PLC where we’ll operate alongside other best-in-class specialist research agencies including Morar HPI, Cardinal and VIGA.

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  8. Create a B2B customer journey map in six steps

    By Andrew Dalglish -

    Relationships are critical in B2B markets.  That’s why every B2B organisation should have a customer journey map.

    A customer journey map visually depicts every step a buyer in your target market follows across the buying cycle.  Such a customer journey map:

    • Details the full journey – the trigger to purchase, the buying decision, the experience as a customer and the defection/lapsing process
    • Within each step of the journey, details every interaction a customer has with your organisation and other parties (e.g. competitors)
    • Indicates the importance of each interaction in shaping customer perceptions, influencing the buying decision and creating customer satisfaction/loyalty
    • Establishes customers’ goals with each interaction and how they define an excellent and terrible experience
    • Measures your organisation’s performance at every step of the journey

    A customer journey map like this is a valuable tool in many respects and will help a broad spectrum of stakeholders within your organisation to enhance their performance. For example, key benefits of a customer journey map include the following:

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  9. Business to business market research just 4% of spend

    By Andrew Dalglish -

    In their latest report on the state of the market research industry, ESOMAR estimate that just 4% of research spend is on business to business market research.  That’s shockingly low.  I took a sample of 400 companies which represent the UK business landscape:

    • The 100 companies on the FTSE 100 Index
    • 50 random companies picked from the FTSE All Share Index
    • The 100 companies on the AIM100 index
    • 50 companies from the Grant Thornton Fast Track Index
    • 100 companies randomly picked from Companies House

    This reveals that 45% of UK companies operate in business to business markets (and many more have some business to business component to what they do).  Yet despite this, business to business market research accounts for less than a twentieth of total market research spend.

    So why do business to business companies under-invest in market research?

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