More than two-thirds (68% of) B2B marketers expect their digital marketing budgets to rise in the year ahead, with 1 in 4 (26%) expecting their budgets to increase significantly. These figures come from Wpromote’s latest report [download page] on the State of B2B Digital Marketing, produced with Ascend2, which also shows that the share of those with growing budgets is significantly higher than the proportion of those expecting a decrease (12%).
The survey suggests that B2B marketers are keeping a keen eye on customers for the year ahead. When asked to select their primary objectives for their digital marketing strategy, top of the list was increasing customer engagement, as selected by half of the respondents. Following closely behind was improving customer experience (47%) and improving brand awareness (46%).
Technology is likely to play a key role in these objectives, with two-thirds (67%) set to increase their budget dedicated to implementing new marketing technology, compared to just 16% decreasing the dollars they will set aside for this activity.
Here are a few other highlights from the study:
Challenges Differ by Size of Organization
Segmenting the respondents by revenue revealed some significant differences in terms of the barriers faced by B2B marketers.
For those working at companies with less than $10 million in revenue, the most common major barriers were aligning marketing and sales (37%), securing staff and budget (36%) and generating enough leads (36%).
By contrast, producing quality content was the most common issue for those with revenues above $10 million, being selected by 4 in 10 (38% of) respondents. In part, this may be down to the growing appetite for content from prospective buyers — a trend exacerbated by increased remote working since 2020.
Social Media Becomes a Growing Trend
As professionals have had to spend less time face-to-face with colleagues and customers, one might assume that the drive for connection is impacting where marketers are focusing their attention.
Evidence for this is seen in the digital marketing trends that B2B marketers are prioritizing, the most popular of which include new social platforms (42%) at #1 and influencer marketing (30%) at #3. In second place with 37% was the trend towards virtual events, which have become more important as B2B marketers have canceled physical conference bookings.
Furthermore, when asked to choose areas of the digital customer experience that have the most impact on overall strategic success, social media (57%) was the most popular option.
One-Fifth Aren’t Planning to Address Third-Party Cookie Issues
Changes from tech giants such as Apple and Google are set to have a significant impact on ad tracking, with the former now blocking third-party cookies by default in Safari and the latter planning to do so in Chrome.
While more than half of respondents to the Wpromote study say they either have a strategy implemented (30%) or have started the process (28%), the remainder are yet to put actions into effect. In fact, 20% say they have done nothing and have no plans to do so.
The full report can be downloaded here.
About the Data: Figures are based on a May 2021 survey of 258 B2B professionals from companies with at least 50 employees.