November 18, 2014: With the end of year fast approaching, many organizations are taking a good look at budgets and priorities for the new year. Software Advice’s recently released 2014 B2B Demand Generation Benchmark report revealed that the vast majority of B2B marketers (79 percent) use at least 11 different marketing software applications.
Software Solutions Used
More importantly, over 80% of marketers said they would either increase their spend in 2015 (41%), or spend the same amount (43%) during the new year. B2B marketers identified 15 different channels their marketing budgets will be focused on; for the vast majority of respondents, spending will remain the same or increase across all channels.
Plans for 2015 Demand Generation Spending, by Channel
The key takeaway for B2B marketers is that the competition is getting more budget and more advanced in their array of marketing tactics. We’ve been covering industry news (i.e., research reports, trends, and important industry announcements in the B2B marketing space) for quite some time now.
Based what we’ve seen and reported on, here are 10 benchmark reports and guides we recommend for review (including Software Advice’s report detailed above) in preparation for developing goals and objectives for the new year and beyond:
Actually released at the end of 2013, this report sets the stage for the prioritization of digital marketing endeavors this year and into upcoming years. Fifty-nine percent of respondents indicated that digital experience creation was a high to very high priority yet more than half (58%) were allocating less than half of their budgets to digital marketing than in the previous year.
- Why It’s Significant: The most important takeaway is the connection this report finds between organizations setting a high prioritization for digital experience creation and revenue growth. Equally interesting is the review of prioritization at the beginning of 2014 and how that has evolved, through new findings throughout the year.
The growth of all things digital continues to gain traction around the world, and We Are Social’s new Social, Digital & Mobile Worldwide report summarizes findings on key social, digital, and mobile statistics worldwide. It should come as little surprise that much of this growth is being fueled by connected mobile devices, but this year’s data does reveal some interesting trends and anomalies, especially in relation to Japan and Korea.
- Why It’s Significant: This report provides a one-stop location for information on Internet usage, social media adoption, and mobile penetration worldwide and across key geographical markets. The slide deck listed above breaks out each region and provides an aggregate summary.
Chief Marketers’ report shows that online demand generation channels are displaying the largest growth for B2B lead generation in 2014. Findings from this survey highlight the increasing role of social media for B2B lead generation, how and why email continues to be an important tool, and what marketers see as their biggest prospecting challenges.
- Why It’s Significant: This report breaks down popular tactics that make up B2B lead generation strategy, comparing and contrasting changes from the previous year and how the roles of social media and content marketing impact the process.
Google’s revised Quality Rating Guidelines document has found its way into public domain once again, covered in Search Engine Land and originally discovered through The SEM Post. Jennifer Slegg has documented most of the new guidelines in her SEM Post coverage, highlighting key points SEOs need to know.
- Why It’s Significant: Anytime marketing and SEO professionals can gain insight into Google processes it’s worth taking the time to at least review details at a high level. This document provides instructions on what Google expects search quality evaluators to look for in regards to third-party web content.
This year, Intershop commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct global research on B2B end-user buyers. At a high level, this report highlights how B2B buying decision makers and influencers, frustrated with formalized internal purchasing, are bypassing processes and capitalizing on the freedom the Internet provides.
- Why It’s Significant: This report details how the traditional consumer experience online is having an impact on how B2B buyers expect to find, review, and purchase solutions for their organizations. It provides insight into how B2B vendors need to reconsider digital marketing initiatives to keep up with buyer demand and expectations.
Google SERPs have greatly evolved over the last decade, impacting the ways searchers have been conditioned to behave. This report takes a look at how user intent, relevant content, brand power, paid vs. organic results, and an ever-changing algorithm have impacted searcher behavior.
- Why It’s Significant: Even though the sample size is small, findings make sense given the changes Google in particular has done in the presentation of search engine results and the increased usage of mobile devices for Internet access.
Customer experience (CX) is widely recognized as critical to an organization’s growth. However, most B2B companies only realize half the potential benefits of their significant investments in the name of providing a better experience for their customers. This study seeks to connect the relationship between companies that develop strong customer experience strategies and their ability to generate higher-than-average revenue growth.
- Why It’s Significant: Eighty-five percent of executives say customer experience is important to their companies’ strategic priorities and have indicated they are investing more in this area year-over-year. Even though the business outcomes from customer experience investments are widely mixed today, executives believe customer experience will change the way in which B2B companies sell and service customers in the future.
High-quality, relevant content is increasingly the focus of search. In Searchmetrics 2014 SEO Factors report, they take a look at the relationship between understood on-page and off-page factors, and how they relate to organic search engine positioning, providing analysis and assessment along the way.
- Why It’s Significant: This report uncovers factors in web page content and third-party connectivity that appear to positively impact organic search performance, through data analysis in association with Searchmetrics technology, as opposed to direct respondent feedback or opinion.
This past month, the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs released findings from their fifth annual content marketing survey, highlighting how B2B marketers go about content marketing initiatives, what channels they use, their degree of effectiveness, and how budgets project to change in the upcoming year.
- Why It’s Significant: Not only can B2B online marketers gain insight and compare and contrast their strategies and tactics with others, but hopefully they can also improve their process and preparation when looking towards 2015 B2B marketing planning.
Don’t forget our report, The 2014 B2B Web Usability Report, developed in coordination with Dianna Huff earlier this year. We’re hopeful findings in this report helped B2B marketers better define website marketing initiatives this year and that they’re excited about the release of the 2015 update early next year.
Hopefully the information in these benchmark reports can be helpful as your organization looks towards 2015 B2B marketing goals and objectives.
Did we miss an important or mission-critical piece of research? I’d love to hear your comments and feedback via comments below.