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How to improve your B2B marketing with research

Posted by Scott Christopher on Wed, Oct 23, 2013 @ 16:10 PM

As an agency, we value research as it can help inform your media plan and make it smarter. Whether you are researching media consumption habits among your prospects, or reviewing qualitative data in a particular DMA, we are of the mindset that knowledge is power and it's worth investing in to make better decisions about your marketing budget. This is true for either B2B or B2C marketing. We also know that this research can come at real costs, both time and money, so a company has to weigh that into consideration as well. Will the potential results of the study be worth the cost and will we have time to review the data and apply its findings to our marketing strategies? b2b media planning

We just finished a custom research project for one of our B2B clients, a product we call MediaWatch™. This is a competitive media analysis in which we survey publications within a given time frame in our client's industry searching for identified competitors' ad placements. Another reality when it comes to research is that what we want to know is not measured by syndicated data, especially in B2B categories. So we just do it ourselves!

For this particular client that is in the infrastructure and construction category, they selected 17 publications and 17 different competitors and we surveyed all publications over a 7 month period. We also requested digital activity within that time frame, although that is hard to quantify since we cannot estimate impressions or spend there. But in print, after surveying we were able to estimate spend and frequency, based on our calculation of advertising value - estimated frequency multiplied by rate card rate for that frequency. At that point we have an "apples-to-apples" comparison with our client's advertising value and all identified competitors in the category. Then we reflect in pie chart-form our client's share of voice as seen in their spend, their share of pages and print impressions across the category. 

As a part of this study, we also scanned in all identified competitive ads (over 65 different units), analyzed messaging to get a sense of what the competitors are promoting, their calls-to-action, the size ads they are running, and if any have unique ideas within their campaigns. All of this information was presented in a compelling way with an emphasis on key takeaways for our client and how it may impact next year's strategy, both in media and creative.

When we conduct these studies, each one presents its' own challenges and this one - which happened to be the largest competitive study we've ever done - was no exception. This client promotes several types of products in different categories (roadways, retaining walls, etc.) but we discovered once we got into the study that several of their competitors do as well. So while analyzing the creative, we categorized each message into one of these product "buckets" so we could see each competitors spend and impressions share in each category, and how it compared to our clients'. This proved to be crucial in helping us see how our client stacked up against their competition in ad spend promoting each product line and if they need to make adjustments in budget for next year.

This study is just one of the many ways we serve our clients by serving as an extension of their marketing department. And it doesn't just help them - at the end of the 6 weeks we knew a lot more about this industry and the big players within it. This research is beneficial for all parties involved, and a vital step in the B2B media planning process. Contact us to see how we can help you with your research and media planning needs.

McCulloch+Company is an advertising media services company that integrates the innovation of digital media with the strengths of traditional paths. Founded in 1994 and located in historic Roswell, Georgia, McCulloch+Company is regarded as one of the Southeast's preeminent media agencies. The agency is skilled at managing B2B and B2C clients in a multitude of industry categories. 

Topics: Media Agency, good media ideas, media planning, custom B-to-B research, B2B marketing strategy, B-to-B media planning, B-to-B marketing, b2c marketing

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