[Research Round-Up] Two Studies Explore the State of B2B Marketing

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(This month’s Research Round-Up features a research-based white paper by Winterberry Group that addresses the current state and future direction of B2B marketing and a wide-ranging research report by Livestorm, mention, and Jotform that is based on a global survey of marketers.)

Source:  Winterberry Group

Outlook for B2B Marketing:  A Market in Transformation by Winterberry Group (sponsored by the ANA and Anteriad)

  • Based on a survey of 204 marketers across the United States (20%), France (13%), Germany (17%), and the UK (20%)
  • 68.5% of respondents were with companies having between $100 million and $1 billion in annual revenue
  • Survey conducted in March 2023
  • Also based on more than two dozen interviews with brand, agency, and vendor executives conducted in February and March 2023

This research-based white paper by Winterberry Group provides valuable insights on several issues relating to the current state and likely future evolution of B2B marketing.

The paper discusses the dramatic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on B2B marketing. Many industry observers argue that the pandemic greatly accelerated a process of transformation in B2B marketing that began several years ago.

Winterberry Group identified nine trends that are having the greatest impact on B2B marketing.

  • The move of younger B2B buyers into positions of greater authority is driving a systemic change in buying behavior.
  • More buying journeys will begin and end online, but the overall journey will continue to include both online and offline interactions.
  • B2B e-commerce will continue to grow significantly.
  • Authoritative thought leadership content, combined with effective creative, will be increasingly important to building brand trust.

  • Artificial intelligence will transform content and creative execution.

  • Data will play an increasingly important role in enabling better marketing decisions, but it’s likely that privacy regulations and concerns will also increase.

  • Utilization of marketing and sales technologies will increase, but the emphasis will be more on maximizing the value of existing technologies rather than on constantly adding new applications.

  • B2B marketing organizations and the skillsets required of B2B marketers will be constantly evolving.

  • B2B marketing budgets will continue to shift to digital, but this shift won’t be as pronounced as is often found in B2C companies.

All of these trends are discussed in detail in the white paper, and I recommend that you read the entire paper.

Source:  Livestorm, mention, and Jotform

Marketing Manager Mindset Report 2023 by Livestorm, mention, and Jotform

  • Based on a survey of 693 marketing decision-makers
  • 46.1% of the respondents were director-level or above
  • 36.4% of the respondents were with B2B companies
  • 78% of the respondents were with companies having 500 or fewer employees
  • The report does not state when the survey was conducted

This survey focused on five principal areas – marketing budgets, marketing strategy, marketing trends, content marketing, and social media marketing. The report provides separate response data for four types of organizations – B2B companies, B2C companies, agencies, and government/non-profit organizations.

Here are some of the major survey findings relating to B2B companies.

Marketing Budgets

Thirty-eight percent (38%) of the B2B respondents said their marketing budget increased this year compared to 2022, while 30% said their budget stayed the same, and 26% reported a decrease.

Marketing Strategy

The top three marketing goals for 2023 identified by B2B respondents were to increase brand awareness (59.9%), generate more leads (59.9%), and increase sales (56.3%).

The two most important digital marketing channels identified by B2B respondents were content marketing (76%) and organic search (74%). The next three most important channels were referral marketing (65%), email marketing (62%), and paid search advertising (61%).

Marketing Trends

This study found that the uncertain economic environment of the past several months had affected the strategic marketing decisions at most B2B companies. Only 24% of the B2B respondents said their marketing decisions had not been affected by the macroeconomic climate.

The top three impacts identified by B2B respondents were:

  • Reduced marketing budget (36%)
  • Change in pricing model (25%)
  • Change in business model (21%)

Content Marketing

The three most important content marketing goals identified by B2B respondents were inbound lead generation (59%), improve SEO (56%), and improve brand awareness (55%).

The three types of content most widely produced by B2B companies were blog articles (72%), videos (63%), and case studies (40%). Infographics came in a close fourth at 39%.

Eighty-three percent (83%) of the B2B respondents said they produce all or most of their marketing content in-house.

Social Media Marketing

The three most important social media goals for B2B respondents were to increase brand awareness (79%), generate leads (59%), and drive traffic to website (56%).

B2B respondents identified LinkedIn as the most widely used and most important social media channel. 

Republished with author's permission from original post.

David Dodd
David Dodd is a B2B business and marketing strategist, author, and marketing content developer. He works with companies to develop and implement marketing strategies and programs that use compelling content to convert prospects into buyers.

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