Some 87% of B2B CXOs and senior marketing professionals say that understanding the customer buying journey will be important for their digital marketing initiatives over the next 3 years, finds a recent report [download page] from Regalix. Many survey respondents also see the importance of mapping content to key stages of the journey (76%) and attributing and measuring the performance of multiple channels used by customers (57%) during their buying journey.
Interestingly, relatively fewer (46%) consider measuring the effectiveness of digital versus offline marketing activities to be a critical factor moving forward. But it appears that their preferences are being reflected in their spending: 52% of respondents plan to allocate a majority of their marketing budgets towards digital/online marketing initiatives this year, up from 36% currently doing so.
Among online distribution channels, respondents (a majority of whom are from technology companies) reported that websites (81%), email (71%) and SEO (54%) were the most effective last year, with this just the latest piece of research to show strong effectiveness for those latter 2 channels. Accordingly, SEO (57%) and email (48) are two of the top three digital channels in terms of planned budget hikes this year, with social media (54%) sandwiched in between. Of note, certain mobile channels are slated for decreases: 4 in 10 respondents plan to cut spending for mobile QR codes and for mobile messaging, while 3 in 10 plan to reduce their mobile app spending.
Among offline channels, meanwhile, events (exhibitions, conferences, trade shows, etc) emerged as the clear winner in terms of effectiveness, cited by 84% as helping them accomplish their goals last year. Events occupy the largest share of B2B marketers’ budgets, according to a recent Forrester survey. Trailing events distantly in the offline effectiveness rankings were telemarketing (24%), direct mail (22%) and print media (13%), among others.
Returning to the factors that marketers consider important for their digital marketing success in the next 3 years, just 35% cited social media’s contribution to the bottom line. That’s an interesting finding in light of separate results showing that social media is the channel that the largest proportion (62%) of respondents believe will see increased adoption and usage this year.
In other results from the study:
- 7 in 10 respondents said that website content proved to be an effective content asset last year, leading the pack ahead of webinars/webcasts (58%), case studies (51%), white papers (48%), blog posts (46%) and online videos (46%). Given that result, a surprisingly high (64%) proportion feel that online videos will become indispensable for B2B marketers this year, second only to website content (76%).
- Not surprisingly, then, website content (67%) and online videos (65%) are the content types that most marketers plan to increase spend for this year.
- The most commonly cited obstacle to successful implementation and execution of digital marketing programs was a lack of budgets (61%), followed by metrics, analytics and ROI of digital marketing programs (49%).
- The top challenges B2B marketers see themselves facing this year are converting leads to customers and measuring ROI, with 52% of respondents seeing each of these as a top-5 challenge.
About the Data: The survey was fielded from 12/2/2014 to 12/12/2014 among 351 senior marketing executives and business leaders. 83% of respondents are from North America. Almost one-third (32%) of respondents come from companies with at least $1 billion in revenues.