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ActivateMarketingCharts B2B Demand Gen Future Views Sept2020Only 1 in 3 B2B marketers and demand generation professionals agree that event marketing budgets will return to normal once the COVID-19 pandemic is over. These figures come from Activate’s latest State of Demand Generation Report [download page], produced in partnership with MarketingCharts, and suggest that this year’s reallocation of budgets following cancellation of B2B events could remain a long-term trend.

Everyone will agree that 2020 has been an exceptional year. But in B2B marketing, demand generation has been remarkably resilient, both in terms of activity and overall budgets. So what else does the future hold?

Here a few further findings from the report:

Quality Matters More Than Quantity for Demand Generation

For some time now, marketers have been dedicating more of their budget to improving the quality of leads. It looks as though this will remain a priority, with 8 in 10 B2B tech marketers agreeing that they will focus more on the quality of leads rather than the quantity of leads in the future.

Three-quarters of respondents also agree that prospects will consume more content in their buyer journey. Other research shows that the B2B purchase cycle has become longer recently – and at the same time the content prospects are consuming has also changed. Additionally, 7 in 10 respondents agree that in the future successful demand gen will require more touchpoints before qualification, while about 6 in 10 (63%) agree that they will adapt their lead scoring based on increased content consumption.

These figures suggest that while more content will be needed to fulfill the needs of buyers, B2B marketers will need to put more effort into filtering out those who are truly qualified from those engaging with content at a superficial level.

B2B Demand Gen Marketers Remain Laser-Focused on the Bottom Line

Three-quarters of respondents agree that their demand gen KPIs will be more closely tied to revenue than they are now. But this doesn’t mean that attention to bringing in sales isn’t already happening.

When asked to choose a single way to describe how they define campaign success right now, the most common response – by a significant margin – was in sourcing new pipeline opportunities or new revenue. As such, it’s not surprising that an equally significant margin of respondents plan to use marketing-generated pipeline metrics, with 7 in 10 (72%) saying they will do so in the next 12 months.

Keeping their eye on the bottom line, respondents are also keen to measure ROI by channel (57%), marketing-generated revenue (52%) and ROI by content theme/campaign (48%) in the months to come.

And, while some marketers are also expecting to use metrics such as account-level engagement (43%), SQL-to-win ratio (32%) and lead-to-opportunity length (29%), few plan to measure customer lifetime value (15%). Previous research does show that although customer lifetime value is a priority for marketers, few are measuring it.

Account-Based Marketing Remains a Key Tactic

Confirming that account-based marketing (ABM) has very much become mainstream, fewer than 1 in 5 (17%) B2B tech demand gen marketers report that they are not currently using ABM in their demand gen strategy. Those using ABM are taking advantage of a number of practices within their ABM strategy.

A full 60% use ABM in their lead generation to reach target accounts, while 52% use it to manage leads based on target accounts. Another 44% use it in programmatic/display advertising to reach target accounts.

However, there is still likely room for improvement. Notably, although three-quarters of respondents say that they expect prospects will be consuming more content throughout their buying journey in the future, only one-fifth are using ABM on their website to target personalized content to target accounts.

Want to read more? The report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 120 B2B tech marketing and demand gen decision-makers and influencers.

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