How Do B2B Marketers Choose Their Digital Channel Mix?

March 12, 2015

Regalix-B2B-Marketing-Channel-Selection-Criteria-Mar2015Marketing objectives and target customer profiles are at the heart of B2B marketers’ decision-making when it comes to the channel selection process, details Regalix in a recent study [download page] on B2B marketing analytics and metrics. While that’s an unsurprising result, it’s nonetheless interesting to see the relative order of criteria, which sees ROI fall slightly behind budgets as a widely-used channel selection attribute.

Nevertheless, 6 in 10 respondents noted that they typically select a marketing channel or mix based on ROI. Marketing analytics can assist in this regard, per the study’s results: when asked the key benefits of marketing analytics, 81% noted that it helps identify the marketing channel that provided the most ROI. That was the leading result, joined by analytics’ use in decision-making. Not far behind, 76% of respondents said that analytics helps them prioritize marketing mix tactics.

With analytics helping define the channel mix, it’s also not too surprising that the capability that respondents consider most important when evaluating marketing analytics tools and technologies is a cross-channel view of results (cited by 82%). More surprisingly, the study notes, is that no respondents indicated that mobile device support is an important consideration.

Overall, the global survey, which was fielded among 328 senior B2B marketing executives and business leaders, finds that 84% are investing in analytics and that 85% are able to leverage their organization’s analytics data to measure marketing effectiveness. That presents a decidedly different view than in a recent CMO survey from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, which found CMOS estimating that just 29% of projects are using requested or available marketing analytics. Differences in the sample may account for that varying perspective: while the Duke survey was fielded among B2C and B2B CMOs in the US, the Regalix study is based on a survey of B2B executives, a majority of whom are in the software and internet (34%) or computer and electronics (20%) industries.

Nevertheless, the two respondent samples agree on one thing: analytics budgets are set to rise. Among the Regalix survey respondents, 56% expect their analytics budget to increase over the next 12 months, compared to 11% expecting a decrease. The Duke CMO Survey respondents, for their part, expect analytics’ share of marketing budgets to almost double in the next 3 years, from 6.4% to 11.7%. (It should be noted that they have failed to keep up with their own projections in recent years.)

Meanwhile, in separate results from the Regalix survey:

  • The leading obstacle stopping respondents’ organizations from investing in analytics is clearly a lack of resources to execute (70%), with the time required to collect and analyze data (41%) a distant second;
  • All respondents use and analyze email marketing, with content marketing (86%), social media marketing (81%) and SEO (81%) next in the pecking order, with websites (76%) curiously behind those;
  • The top website metrics regularly tracked by respondent organizations are visits (100%) and views (95%), with 80% also tracking conversion rates;
  • Click-through rate (84%) is the SEO metric most commonly tracked, followed by keyword clicks (74%) and percentage of total traffic from organic search (74%);
  • Click-through rate (84%) is also the most widely used PPC metric, ahead of visit-to-lead (63%) rate;
  • Social reach (63%) is the social media metric most commonly tracked, followed by traffic referrals from social channels (50%) and engagement per post/tweet (50%), with fewer tracking leads (44%) and channel conversion rates (38%);
  • Click-throughs are clearly the most popular mobile metric, regularly used by 83%, while 25% regularly track app downloads;
  • Click-through rates (94%) and open rates (89%) are widely used email marketing metrics, with conversion rates (72%) also popular;
  • Leads (83%) and downloads (78%) are the most commonly used content marketing metrics; and
  • Views (90%) and time duration spent (60%) are the only video metrics commonly used by a majority of respondents.

About the Data: The Regalix survey was fielded from February 3-17, 2015. 64% of respondents are from North America and 39% are from companies with at least $1 billion in revenues.

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