B2B Marketers Keep the Focus on Content

May 15, 2017

There’s no content fatigue setting in among B2B marketers, according to the 2017 Digital Trends in B2B [download page] report from Econsultancy and Adobe. Not only is content marketing by far the top digital priority for B2B marketers this year, but it’s also the discipline most likely to get a spending hike this year.

Some 58% of the 2,400 B2B marketers surveyed claimed that they will increase their content marketing budgets this year, the broadest agreement on budget hikes of the various channels and disciplines identified. Lead generation – closely tied to content in many respects – is the next-most likely to get a spending increase, cited by 56% of respondents.

Other popular areas for budget growth include marketing analytics, social media marketing and lead management, each tabbed for increases by half of the respondents. At least in the US, B2B CMOs have been less able to derive impact from marketing analytics than their B2C counterparts, so spending increases will likely be welcome there.

There’s less fervor for spending growth in more traditional areas such as paid search (33%) and display advertising (31%). Notably, mobile marketing hasn’t captured B2B marketers’ fancy, either: just 39% plan an increase this year, compared to a majority (54%) of B2C marketers surveyed. That may be due to some ROI concerns: while data suggests that B2B marketers believe mobile marketing will eventually produce for them, few have said that they’re seeing significant returns from these efforts. B2B buyers have been slower to migrate their behavior to mobile devices than have consumers, though.

Meanwhile, content marketing also tops the list in terms of digital-related priorities, according to the Econsultancy and Adobe report. Asked which 3 areas are the top priorities for their organizations this year (of 17 identified), a leading 37% pointed to content marketing, well ahead of the next-placed area, brand-building/viral marketing (24%).

It’s interesting to see brand-building near the top of the list, though, as it has popped up a couple of times of late. Earlier this year, for example, a study indicated that most B2B firms are upping their brand investments and seeing results, while more recent research specific to the US found that amid a surge in planned brand-building spending, B2B firms were outpacing B2C companies.

In order to differentiate their brands in the coming years, B2B marketers will focus foremost on the customer experience, product/service innovation and product/service quality, per the report.

About the Data: The result are based on a survey of 2,400 B2B marketers, almost three-quarters of whom are based in North America (38%) and Europe (35%). Respondents hail from a variety of industries and company sizes.


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