Not only has the pandemic lengthened the purchase cycle for many B2B buyers, but a majority are consulting more sources to research and evaluate before making a purchase. This shift towards researching more before getting in touch with sales has increased the value of marketing, according to a report [download page] from CMO Council and Televerde.
Virtually all (96%) of the 150 global marketing leaders surveyed say that the shift towards what the report labels as the “self-reliant buyer” in today’s digital-first environment has at least moderately increased marketing’s value in their organization. Marketers are stepping up and taking action. More than half (53%) say they are focusing their efforts on digital experience to win the business of these self-reliant buyers, while an equal number are focusing on the modernization of marketing organization (47%) and relevant content (47%).
Some 3 in 10 say they are focusing on data-literacy in key digital roles in order to gain the business of self-reliant buyers. Skills like data analysis remain highly sought-after, with only 13% of respondents reporting that they already have critical data-literacy skills inside their team, with close to another half (47%) saying that some of these skills gaps remain.
The self-reliant buyer has also had an impact on marketers’ demand gen strategy, with close to 6 in 10 (56%) saying it has forced them to revisit their existing content and content strategy. Others have focused on more personalization (31%), emphasized social engagement (27%), used more multimedia content (26%) and increased their reliance on virtual events (25%).
Along with buyers becoming more self-reliant, the pandemic also brought about accelerated innovation in the martech arena, and a majority of marketers (including B2C) surveyed by Ascend2 at the end of 2020 foresaw their budgets for implementing new martech increasing.
Respondents to this recent report say that their martech priorities for the next 12 months include marketing analytics, performance and attribution (50%), content marketing (41%), audience/marketing data and data enhancement (37%) and business, customer intelligence and data science (33%). To a lesser extent they will be prioritizing video marketing (27%), marketing automation and campaign/lead management (25%) and customer experience, service and success (21%).
Leveraging Data and Insights
With marketing analytics and attribution being a martech priority for half of the marketing leaders surveyed, it’s worth looking at how successful marketers are at leveraging the data and insights they are gaining from their martech.
Close to three-quarters (73%) of respondents say they are at least moderately successful at leveraging data to identify and segment the new self-reliant buyer; however, only 1 in 5 of those report being extremely (3%) or very (17%) successful at it. Additionally, 77% say that marketing is at least moderately effective in using data and analytics to gain insights into shifting customer behaviors.
That said, fewer appear to be able to act on those insights when it matters. About two-thirds (67%) claim that marketing’s ability to act on insights in the self-reliant buyer’s moment of need is at least moderately effective.
The full report can be downloaded here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a global survey of 150 marketing leaders.