Four B2B Marketing Trends to Watch in 2019

March 4, 2019

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | B2B | Customer-Centric | Data-driven | Featured | Industries | Lead Generation & Management | Video

One of the promises of digital technology was to put an end to John Wanamaker’s adage that an unknown half of marketing spend is wasted. So for B2B marketers, it’s not too much of a surprise that less than 4% of those surveyed for a report by Wpromote [download page] plan to reduce their digital budgets next year. But what are the other factors at play?

Below are some trends of note from Wpromote’s study that connect with other themes as featured previously on MarketingCharts.

1. Complex Attribution is Far From Widespread

When it comes to measurement, Wpromote’s study paints a mixed picture. On the bright side, when asked which attribution model they use, about 30% of respondents said they had a multi-channel attribution model in place, which captures all influencing touch points. However, while more than one-third (35.4%) of B2B marketers reported using instead some combination of first touch and/or last touch attribution models, more than one-quarter (28%) do not have any attribution model in place at all.

As such, it appears the challenge of measuring the impact of spend is far from over. As noted in a previous study from Demand Gen Report, just 7% of B2B marketers rate their company’s current ability to measure and analyze marketing performance as “excellent” – a situation caused by a wide range of complex challenges, such as a lack of ability to measure activity between specific buyer stages, the difficulty in measuring impact across channels and campaigns, or even just a lack of KPIs to measure against.

2. Video Emerges as Lead Gen Tactic of Choice

According to Wpromote, while lead volume ranks fourth in metrics B2B marketers use to measure digital marketing performance, quality and quantity of leads are still primary goals of marketers.

The trick is finding the right content to generate those quality leads. Video was named the top content type for driving leads by survey participants. In fact, other research has found that nearly 7 in 10 B2B marketers plan on adopting video marketing this year.

Video is also being heavily pushed by B2B social network LinkedIn, which by its own admission has gone “all-in”, as it develops new video solutions for advertisers.

For the most part, the emphasis on what content is being produced matches that of the content that is seen to be driving leads. Just as video is the content that drives the most leads, it is also the content that the B2B marketers surveyed said they are producing the most. Coming in second is blogs which were ranked third for driving leads. Infographics, case studies and webinars round out the top five in content production.

3. ABM Use Continues To Grow

Lead generation is a strategy that has long been employed by B2B marketers, and while this strategy is not going away anytime soon, account-based marketing (ABM), which relies more on the quality of a few key targets as opposed to a large quantity of MQLs, is becoming the strategy of choice for many organizations. Earlier research by Bizible found that 70% of B2B marketers are using ABM to some extent.

With this in mind, it is surprising to see that more than half (51%) of respondents to this current survey reported that they had not tried or were not currently engaged in using an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy. The upside is that for those participants who do engage in some sort of ABM strategy, just about half (49%) find it to be an effective strategy, with only one-sixth not finding the strategy effective for them.

4. Advanced Technology Adoption May Be Slowing

Martech occupies the largest share of CMO spend, according to Gartner’s latest CMO Spend Survey. But with an ever-growing category list of technology solutions, and with technology already accounting for such a significant slice of budget, could there be saturation in the market?

Adopting technology that is meant to aid in marketing efforts may be somewhat lagging on the B2B front according to the report. While close to half (48%) of respondents say they currently have a marketing automation system in place, more than 4 in 10 (43%) report not having one and a small percentage are unsure.

As technology becomes more advanced, so does the lag in adoption. More than half (54%) of respondents said they have not tried or do not currently use Artificial Intelligence (AI) or predictive software. However, for the 39.7% that do use these types of software, nearly half (45.7%) find them to be effective. Only time will tell as to whether the rest of B2B marketers will add yet another type of software to a growing technology stack, particularly as data has suggested that few are currently using sophisticated martech features

To read more, download the report here.

About the Data: Data for the report is comprised of survey responses from 302 B2B marketers in the US across a wide range of industries and job titles.

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