“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” John Wanamaker’s famous quote sums the situation up perfectly; there is no point investing millions in advertising if the advertising is not doing its job.




Advertising Effectiveness Research

After 15 years researching advertising effectiveness, there is one thing we have learned – business managers are bombarded by communications. It is no surprise many are dazed and confused.

Indeed, over the last decade, there have been massive changes in the way businesses communicate with other businesses, and there are a number of forces responsible for these changes:

  • The rollout of the global internet has triggered the explosion of online advertising as a proportion of overall spend
  • Huge increases in personal productivity within companies – individuals are left with less time to spend with traditional media, such as visiting exhibitions and reading journals
  • Changes in demography – younger people with different attitudes and behaviours are emerging
  • The world has become smaller, with companies trading globally every day

As a result of these changes, traditional media has suffered. Whilst TV and press once had a large share of the communications market, they are the losers at present – especially given they are the most expensive.

Although massive changes have taken place in the industry, advertising per se hasn’t. Advertising still has the power to persuade, influence and sway. It is still crucial to all businesses, no matter what part of the life cycle they are on, from building awareness to building brand emotion.

However, whilst billions are spent on advertising each year, so much money could be saved by investing in testing the effectiveness of campaigns upfront and throughout the creative process.

To read some of our white papers on advertising research, follow the links below:

Advertising Among SMEs Business Promotions & B2B Advertising: Ad Testing Research

How can we help?

Today, there are three significant implications for business to business advertisers:

  • In an overcrowded marketplace, it is essential you take a single and clear position to differentiate your company
  • Today’s complex markets present complex communication challenges, such as the need to take different positions in different geographical markets
  • Communication strategies must embrace diverse vehicles and it is difficult to allocate budget as there are so many variables – it can be impossible to isolate which advertising campaign or strategy had the biggest effect

B2B International can help you either at the front end of your advertising campaign, working alongside your creative agency to guide input into the campaign itself, or at the back end to understand how effective your campaign was.

While the remit can be wide and varied, some of the types of input we can help you with, include:

  • Gathering information on who makes the decisions within your target markets as the attitudes and perceptions of different people within DMUs vary
  • Helping you to recognise the key factors that influence the choice of a supplier and understand how your company is perceived in relation to delivering these particular values
  • Understanding how your target audiences gather information on suppliers and how their search for information might change over time
  • Gathering information on which specific media are used when looking for suppliers
  • Finding out attitudes towards your particular brand and brand positioning in comparison to the competition
  • Measuring awareness, recall, persuasion and effectiveness of your advertising campaigns

Case study: The need for deeper insights

Business challenge

Our client, a global chemicals company, wanted a deeper understanding of how its customers and potential customers obtained information on suppliers. They wanted to benchmark other companies, and they wanted to know how suppliers rated their brand against competitors. This would help their communications team to more accurately position the company, enabling them to develop a more effective communications mix.

What we did

In preparing the project, we debated whether to use qualitative or quantitative research, and considered depth interviewing and an e-survey.

We concluded that we needed qualitative insights as these are important if we were to understand why and how communications work in this market. We also wanted to see the differences across regions and between industrial sectors. We knew the interviewing would be scattered around the world and, logistically, we knew that depth telephone interviews were the best medium.

We also needed to be able to compare the views of customers as well as potential customers and needed enough interviews to be confident that the findings were correct. With this in mind, we carried out a global quantitative survey of 500 interviews covering all our client’s major markets, from agriculture and automotive through to chemicals, food and beverage, healthcare and pharmaceutical.

The advertising effectiveness research provided our client with a comprehensive picture on how their customers and potential customers receive and assimilate information on suppliers. With this understanding we were able to draw conclusions on:

  • Which media was most effective in reaching our client’s target markets and which mediums were the most effective communications mix
  • How our client was viewed by its target audiences around the world, including strengths which could be built into a positioning strategy, as well as weaknesses which needed correction in the advertising campaign.