B2B marketers expect to rely on some tried-and-true channels in the year ahead as part of their marketing strategy. Based on a survey of more than 100 B2B marketing professionals, a new report [download page] from ON24, Market2Marketers and Heinz Marketing shows that marketers plan to use components such as content marketing, digital advertising and email as part of their overall strategy.
Indeed, not only were content marketing (78%), digital ads, PPC or retargeting (77%) and email (71%) most widely cited by the B2B marketers surveyed, they were also cited by the largest percentage of top-performing marketers (the 54% of respondents that rated the success of their marketing program in 2019 as 6 or 7 on a 7-point scale), with a full 88% saying they will include digital ads in their marketing strategy and 81% saying they will use content marketing.
The survey also found that 7 in 10 respondents (71%) were planning to include video in their marketing strategy. Video marketing has not only been chosen by B2B marketers as one of the top sales and marketing strategies they want to explore this year, but it’s also considered the best performing thought leadership content format by many B2B and B2C marketers.
Some 62% of respondents also expected to incorporate events into their strategy this year. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in the cancellation of events worldwide, more marketers find themselves taking their events online. So, while, only 47% of the B2B marketers surveyed in January thought they’d be using webinars this year, that percentage is likely to increase.
For Many B2B Marketers, Current Performance Lags Behind Best Practice
Although the vast majority of B2B marketing professionals agree with statements such as ‘high-quality marketing experience is critical to business success’ (98%), ‘stronger engagement results in a stronger pipeline’ (93%), ‘interactive marketing leads to better engagement’ (92%) and ‘personalization helps to break through the noise’ (90%), they are less likely to rate their current performance in these areas highly.
When asked to rate their current company’s performance in these areas, the gap between importance and performance was wide. Only 44% rated their customer experience as excellent, while even fewer rated their performance as excellent in key areas such as driving engagement (34%), personalization (33%), and interactive marketing (31%).
Additionally, although more than three-quarters (78%) agreed that account-based marketing is more effective than traditional marketing approaches, only two-fifths (39%) felt they were excellent at producing account-based content.
Here’s a closer look at what top-performing marketers are doing differently than the mainstream:
- More than half of top performers say their company’s performance is excellent when it comes to customer experience (58%) and account-based content (55%);
- Top performers are far more likely than the mainstream to say their marketing is everywhere their customers are (74% vs. 40%);
- While both top-performing and other marketers express confidence in their ability to create relevant, personalized and timely content for their target audience, top performers are multiples more likely to say they were very confident (68%) compared to the rest of the sample (22%); and
- Top performers are somewhat more likely than other marketers to focus on long-term metrics (88% vs. 73%).
The full report can be found here.
About the Data: Results are based on a survey of 137 B2B marketing professionals across various roles, industries and organization sizes. The survey was conducted in January 2020.