With the exception of account-based marketing (ABM) programs, B2B demand gen and tech marketers appear to have a shifting set of channels and tactics that they’ll be favoring over the coming year, according to the latest annual State of Demand Gen report [download page] from Activate, produced in partnership with Marketing Charts.
When thinking about the top three channels and tactics they increased the most in 2022, respondents to the survey pointed first to ABM programs (37%), followed by content syndication (30%) and email marketing (27%).
ABM programs will again lead the way in the coming year, as half (51%) of respondents included these in their top-3 channels or tactics that they expect to increase the most in the coming year. Beyond ABM, however, the report highlights “a shift to precision and quality,” as the areas that are next-most set for increases are lead nurturing (30%) and high-quality lead programs (late-funnel, HQL/SRL; 27%).
Email marketing and content syndication, for their part, have fallen to the lower tier of prioritization in the year ahead.
As for demand gen content, the research reveals that a majority of respondents feel that infographics, blogs, podcasts and videos are most effective at the top of the funnel. Webcasts, concise white papers, and virtual events are perceived by a majority to be most effective mid-funnel, while a plurality indicate that ROI calculators are most effective at the bottom of the funnel.
Opinions are more split around research, which 35% see as most effective at the top of the funnel, 40% at mid-funnel, and 21% at the bottom of the funnel. But the content type with the most even spread in perceived effectiveness is live events: 35% feel that live events are most effective at the top of the funnel, compared to 33% at mid-funnel, and 30% at the bottom of the funnel.
It may be this perceived ability to work across various stages of the funnel that makes live events particularly effective in the eyes of this year’s respondents. Asked which content type delivers the highest ROI overall, and a leading fifth (20% share) cited live events, almost double the share of the next-most cited content types, research (11% share) and in-depth white papers or e-books (also 11% share).
Of note, though, is that respondents who met or exceeded their KPIs last year have more favorable opinions about research content, with 13% share rating this the top content type for ROI, close behind live events (17% share).
Previous studies have found that B2B decision-makers favor thought leadership that references robust research and strong supporting data and that B2B buyers play close attention to content that includes research and data, with this is a factor in their decision of whether or not to share content.
About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 268 qualified B2B demand gen and tech marketers, 6 in 10 of whom work at companies with at least 500 employees and 93% of whom are based in the US or Canada.