Despite 2020 being a year of crisis, B2B Demand Gen marketers have shown exceptional results over the past year. Only 1 in 4 (26%) changed their levels of activity or KPIs in response to the pandemic — and of these, 86% met or exceeded their original or adjusted KPIs. These figures come from Activate Marketing Services’ latest annual State of Demand Generation Report [download page], which has been produced in partnership with MarketingCharts.
The report is based on a survey of more than 150 B2B tech marketing and demand gen decision-makers and influencers. Here are a few key highlights.
Demand Gen Activity Up Strongly Since the Start of 2021
In last year’s study, more than half of respondents had reported increasing their demand generation activities since the start of the pandemic, even with the pressures being faced by businesses globally.
For this year, optimism seems to be even more buoyant, with almost three-quarters (73%) having increased their level of Demand Gen activity — with 1 in 4 reporting that it had significantly increased, signaling a strong vote of confidence in its value.
When asked for reasons behind the increase, the proven ROI of Demand Gen featured as one of the top four responses, in addition to increased sales and marketing targets.
Some Who Stuck to Original KPIs Exceeded Them Anyway
Given that many organizations changed their plans drastically in 2020, respondents were asked whether they had reduced their original KPIs or targets for Demand Gen activity.
Although 13% of respondents said they didn’t know (which might be the case for less senior members of staff), some 6 in 10 (61%) said they did not change their targets.
Of particular surprise was that of this group, 35% claimed to exceed these original targets, with a further 43% managing to meet them.
Even for those changing their targets, 1 in 10 exceeded their original KPIs anyway, with 3 in 10 (31%) exceeding their adjusted KPIs and 45% meeting them.
Two-Thirds Expect Their Demand Gen Budgets to Increase
The solid performance exhibited by the study’s respondents has put them in a good position to see increased dollars at their disposal. Even though last year only saw 18% of Demand Gen professionals reporting a cut to their budget, only 4% expect the same for the coming 12 months.
Indeed, almost 1 in 5 (18%) expect budgets to grow significantly (versus 12% in 2020), while half (49%) expect them to grow somewhat (34% in 2020).
Given that their top three metrics all relate to the bottom line — as was also the case last year — those working in Demand Gen remain laser-focused on revenue generation.
Specifically, the metrics that respondents are most likely to use in the next 12 months are:
- Marketing-generated pipeline (76%);
- Marketing-generated revenue (60%); and
- ROI by channel (54%).
The full report is available for download here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 152 B2B tech marketing and demand gen decision-makers and influencers, conducted in May 2021.