Some 7 in 10 organizations have implemented integrated marketing to some extent, though it remains challenging for many, according to Demand Gen Report and True Influence’s report [download page] on the state of integrated marketing in B2B.
Fielded in July-August 2020, the survey comprised respondents from those parts of an organization found to be most involved in establishing and executing integrated marketing, these including marketing ops (69%), demand generation (56%) and sales (56%).
Implementation is High, Though Understanding Varies
A plurality of respondents (44%) shared that they currently have an integrated marketing strategy underway and are testing new strategies, with a further one-quarter (26%) claiming that they have a solid understanding of integrated marketing and practice it across the organization.
However, it does not appear to be plain sailing for all organizations – around 3 in 10 respondents either plan on implementing integrated marketing because they see the potential payoffs of the strategy (15%) or are not doing integrated marketing, but see the potential payoffs of the strategy and plan to (14%).
Not to mention, respondents were not exactly in agreement as to the definition of integrated marketing. While the largest share (35%) defined it as “a combination of all aspects of marketing communication (advertising, sales, direct marketing, social media etc.)”, close to 3 in 10 (27%) defined it as “utilizing intent data within lead and account scoring” (27%). A further one-quarter (26%) see integrated marketing as “maintaining alignment across the organization to deliver a unified, data-driven experience across all aspects of marketing/sales communications and channels.”
Rewards and Challenges
The B2B marketers surveyed were confident in a range of potential payoffs of using or expanding the use of integrated marketing within their organization. According to the majority of respondents, the tactic can provide a more seamless customer experience for buyers (66%), more consistent messaging across channels (58%) and greater alignment across the organization (52%).
Respondents also cited better segmentation to identify target accounts (37%) — a practice for which marketers rank their skillset rather low — and the ability to scale marketing (34%) as key payoffs. Fewer thought that having a common set of metrics/reporting across the organization (28%) and having simplified processes and set of tools (23%) were potential benefits.
Unfortunately for those organizations hoping to implement or expand integrated marketing, a number of common challenges have arisen among respondents. The vast majority (75%) find that their data being a mess is an obstacle, with more than 6 in 10 citing lack of knowledge/skills around integrated marketing (64%) and being uncertain if they have the budget (61%) as barriers.
Best Practices for Execution
When it comes to the best tools for executing an integrated marketing strategy, respondents cited CRM (80%), data tools (65%), reporting platforms (63%) and collaboration tools (44%) as particularly useful.
And, though the largest percentage (65%) choose the early-stage of engagement in which to focus their integrated marketing efforts, almost an equal proportion (64%) focus on the middle stage, with a further 57% preferring a multi-touch nurture approach.
In order to fuel their integrated marketing, organizations are largely collecting first-party data (88%), though nearly 6 in 10 (58%) are collecting third-party data. Surveys/customer feedback (49%) and intent signals (36%) are also in use, albeit by a minority.
As with any marketing initiative, tracking the success of integrated marketing is key, and respondents reported a number of metrics being used to do so. Email response rate (click-throughs and opens) was the top metric, closely followed by web traffic (73%), with engagement (60%), closed/won businesses (60%) and MQLs (52%) also among top metrics.
However, painting a similar picture to the overall challenges involved with integrated marketing, respondents feel held back from measuring its success by challenges including data being a mess (53%), a lack of resources (52%) and an inability to measure impact across channels/campaigns (52%).
Read the full report here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a July-August 2020 survey of B2B professionals across marketing, sales and operations roles.