December 8, 2015: It is that time in the year again. As we wind down 2015, marketing budgets and planning for the new year begin to take focus. Hopefully, the performance metrics associated with your organization’s marketing programs have yielded success and validation for tactics proposed at the beginning of the year.
But even if last year was a dramatic success, performance metrics from the past should only create part of the picture when planning for the future. It is also important for B2B marketers to evaluate new and emerging trends, as well as shifts in the competitive landscape, to help determine where to set budgets and forecasts moving forward.
Successful B2B marketing programs leverage a combination of investments that improve on their existing strengths while also tackling new challenges and opportunities, all designed to grow revenue and build brand. For the proposing new tactics and ideas, it is critical to have resources on hand in the investigative process and to provide support in development.
Based what we’ve seen, experienced, and reported on, here are insights from over 50 surveys and benchmark reports, organized by overarching theme, we recommend for review, in preparation for developing B2B marketing budgets and program goals for the new year and beyond.
- 75 percent of B2B buyers said they research at least 25 percent of their work-related purchases online, even if they made the actual purchase offline. (source)
- 76 percent of B2B buyers use three or more marketing channels for research. (source)
- Ascend2’s “2015 Lead Generation Trends” report revealed that 70 percent of marketers believe improving the quality of leads is their most important lead generation objective, followed by increasing sales revenue (58 percent) and boosting the overall number of leads (54 percent). (source)
- Nearly 45 percent of B2B marketers, surveyed by Annuitas, indicated that they are not using buyer personas in demand generation programs and almost half are failing to align content to their buyer’s pain points. (source)
- According to a separate study from Annuitas, nearly 60 percent of marketers in the B2B sector don’t believe their marketing campaigns are effective, especially when it comes to demand generation. (source)
- More than a quarter (28 percent) of marketers surveyed said they receive a 20 percent of greater increase in sales opportunities from nurtured leads, as opposed to non-nurtured prospects. (source)
- The “Marketing Budgets 2015 Report,” published by Econsultancy and Oracle Marketing Cloud, showed paid search as the top digital channel for ROI measurement, beating out more than a dozen other analyzed channels. (source)
- According to Forbes Insights study, “Reaching the Right Audience,” almost all large companies consider digital video to be a key component of their marketing message or brand. (source)
- Four times as many online consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. Additionally, 80 percent of them consider product videos to be important in the purchasing process. (source)
- A total of 86 percent of respondents from a study by Research+Data Insights found that word of mouth from peers was the most influential factor in narrowing their options for potential vendors. (source)
- 74 percent of marketers intend to increase spending on influencer engagement in 2015 to bolster their business’ bottom line and brand reputation. (source)
- B2B buyers require human sales interaction during every stage of the buyer’s journey, even though digital communication and promotion has become more prevalent in vendor marketing programs, according to survey findings released by SiriusDecisions. (source)
- B2B buyers are exploring a number of different channels when conducting vendor. Over the past year, 83 percent of respondents said that they have turned to white papers for research. Other popular forms of content assessed by researchers included webinars, blog posts, and videos. (source)
- Content marketing now makes up 31 percent of our respondents’ marketing budgets. (source)
- A report released by PulsePoint and Digiday found that by 2017, content marketing and native ad budgets will grow 59 percent and 46 percent respectively; potentially outpacing search and social budgets. (source)
- According to MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute report, “B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends.” 60 percent named engaging content as their top challenge while 72 percent named creating engaging content as their top priority. (source)
- Nearly 64 percent of B2B technology buyers surveyed said that they read between 2 to 5 pieces of content before making a purchase. (source)
- Decision-makers download an average of 7 informational assets as they look through their purchasing options. (source)
- According to Ascend2’s “Content Marketing Trends” survey, nearly half of today’s marketers believe video is their most effective form of content while also being the most difficult to create. (source)
- Customer testimonials (51 percent), tutorial videos (50 percent) and demonstration videos (49 percent) have been the most effective types of video marketing tactics for which marketers are seeing positive results. (source)
- A study from the Content Marketing Association found that 91.4 percent of all marketers use customer data in their content marketing strategy. (source)
- Salesforce “2015 State of B2B Marketing Report,” found that 60 percent of B2B marketers consider mobile as a “crucial enabler” and conduit of their overall sales. (source)
- “The CMO Survey” conducted by the Duke Fuqua School of Business found that marketers surveyed will spend 15.6 percent of their budgets on mobile marketing over the next three years. (source)
- 67 percent of B2B marketers want to increase brand awareness through mobile marketing, making it the top priority, according the “State of B2B Mobile Marketing” report published by Regalix. (source)
- More than three-quarters of today’s mobile marketing campaigns employ location targeting, with the ads also focusing on user’s search behavior and interests. (source)
- A report from Follow Analytics shows that 64 percent of marketing decision-makers across enterprise brands say the top priority of their mobile app is to improve the customer experience and foster customer loyalty. (source)
- 60 percent of marketers consider personalizing the customer experience to be their top data-driven marketing objective. (source)
- 78 percent of companies surveyed by Econsultancy and Adobe indicated that they planned to differentiate through customer experience in 2015. (source)
- B2B marketers believe customer experience, personalization and big data hold the most promise over the next five years. Nearly a quarter of B2B respondents (22 percent) surveyed named customer experience as the greatest opportunity. (source)
- 64 percent of today’s C-suite executives intend to prioritize their investment in customer experience (CX) over the next three years. (source)
- 81 percent of marketing executives are shifting their budgets to become more customer-focused (vs. channel or product-focused), according to a study from the Leapfrog Marketing Institute. (source)
- 43 percent of users in the U.S. (and closer to a third in the UK) report that they feel deceived or disappointed when they consume content that is actually sponsored by a brand online, and the sponsorship is not disclosed. (source)
- 91 percent of respondents do not trust sites that contain errors or mistakes. About 88 percent say they do not tolerate websites that frequently go offline, and 75 percent claim that poor authentication measures make them skeptical. (source)
- According to a CorporateVisions survey, only 27 percent of today’s B2B marketers believe that their campaigns are customer-centric. (source)
- In a study from Infogroup Media Solutions, 62 percent surveyed indicated they are investing in data marketing, which includes utilizing customer data and outside data trends in order to influence strategy, projects, and targeting. (source)
- A key finding of the study referenced above was that almost half (47 percent) are already seeing a positive return on investment for their data-marketing efforts (up from 39 percent a year ago)
- Still, only one-third of B2B marketers think “data first” when planning and carrying out their strategies, according to a report published by B2B Marketing and Marketscan. (source)
- According to an analysis of more than 775,000 leads from B2B marketers, as much as 40 percent of all leads generated have poor data quality. (source)
- According to results from the “Marketing Automation Strategy Survey,” 65 percent of marketers believe that marketing automation is “very important” to the overall success of campaigns, however, a lack of in-house expertise looms as their most challenging obstacle to overcome. (source)
- SoftwareAdvice’s Marketing Automation Software Small Business BuyerView” report revealed that 98 percent of small business buyers were looking to purchase marketing automation software for the first time in 2015. (source)
- Nearly 83 percent of marketers surveyed that indicated they were integrating or expanding predictive analytics efforts also indicated that they see “considerable” or “very high” business impact by using them. (source)
- 68 percent of respondents believe predictive marketing will become a key part of the marketing stack moving forward. (source)
- 92 percent of marketers want more integration with IT, and 75 percent of IT leaders said the same about marketing. (source)
Search and Social
- According to data from the “2015 Edelman Trust Barometer,” online search engines are now a more trusted source for general news and information (64 percent) than traditional media (62 percent). (source)
- Changing algorithms topped the lost of challenges marketers are faced when it comes to SEO, with budget constraints and keyword management second and third respectively. (source)
- The research shows search results with rich snippets (i.e. star reviews, author images) listed further down on the search result page outperformed a standard link in the first position. On average, a position 2 search result with rich snippets received 61 percent of clicks. In contrast, a standard link in position 1 received 48 percent of clicks – a 13 percent difference. (source)
- 89 percent of SEO professionals believe that editorial links could help their SEO, as positive media coverage remains a strong search signal. (source)
- 99 percent of B2B marketers believe social media is critical to their communication campaigns, with 94 percent indicating their key social objective is to build brand awareness. (source)
- Duke University’s “CMO Survey,” indicated that CMOs plan to spend an average of 13.5 percent of their budget on social media marketing over the next 12 months, a percentage that’s expected to increase to 22.4 percent within the next five years. (source)
- A study published by the IMB Institute for Business Value found that 36 percent of millennials weigh the opinions of friends or family before making a purchase. 56 percent of them feel like they make better decisions at work when they consult a wide variety of people for their input. (source)
- Twitter is the top social platform for B2B brand mentions, with 73 percent of them happening on the site. (source)
- The percentage of sales professionals who missed their sales quota and had little or no social media skills increased an astounding 50% from 2012 to 2014. (source)
Need even more information? Don’t forget our report, The 2015 B2B Web Usability Report, developed in coordination with Dianna Huff and BuyerZone earlier this year. We’re hopeful findings in this report helped B2B marketers better define website marketing initiatives this year and we’re excited about developing the next iteration in 2016.
Among data charts, analysis, and information found in the 27-page report, key takeaways include:
- While blogs and social media have some impact in the B2B buying cycle, this impact is not as significant as marketers have assumed. Over a third of respondents (34%) indicated they don’t use blogs to aid them in their vendor discovery process; 38% indicated they don’t use social media for the same purpose.
- Buyers need thorough contact information to make informed purchasing decisions. Survey data shows that a lack of thorough contact information will cause buyers to leave a website as well as reduce the vendor’s credibility in the eye of the buyer.
- Despite a tsunami of information regarding what comprises an effective B2B content marketing strategy, a huge disconnect still exists between the content vendors supply buyers on their websites and what buyers need to move forward with vendors.
The full report can be downloaded without form requirements on this landing page.
Did we miss an important or mission-critical piece of research? I’d love to hear your comments and feedback via comments below. Best wishes in the planning of your B2B marketing initiatives in the new year and beyond!