No matter how many times it’s been said, 2020 was a tumultuous year for the world, including B2B marketers. But how did B2B marketers respond to the challenge?
Here are some stats and research pieces showing what’s on the mind of B2B marketers, featuring research published in 2020 and Q1 2021 — including content produced by Market2Marketers.
B2B Marketers See Increased Content Consumption — But May Need to Remove The Noise From Lead Scoring
Key takeaway: As content consumption goes up, make sure to change your lead scoring and qualification processes.
In 2020, the amount of content that was consumed went up significantly, meaning that B2B marketers are getting more engagement.
Data from PathFactory (and featured on MarketingCharts.com) shows that engagement with several formats more than doubled, including:
- Executive summaries (up 257%)
- Landing Pages (up 140%)
- Webinars (up 128%)
- Brochures (up 108%)
Similarly, NetLine showed that requests for content on its network rose year-over-year by 37.7% and 16.84% for June and July 2020.
As such, it’s no surprise that content marketing is the most popular strategy component for B2B marketers. Overall, some 78% of B2B marketers surveyed for ON24’s Experience Everywhere Report (produced by Market2Marketers and Heinz Marketing) featured content marketing in their plans,
This is potentially great news, with increased engagement potentially creating more marketing-qualified leads. However, this change in behaviour will not have necessarily translated into more marketing-generated pipeline.
To compensate for this, some B2B marketers have amended their lead scoring models to filter through the noise. Activate’s State of Demand Generation Report for 2020 (produced by Market2Marketers) found that changes to lead scoring over the past 12 months included using additional account-level fields (28%), adding fields through tech integrations (28%) and changing the lead score at which contacts are qualified or passed to sales (27%).
B2B Marketers Are Learning New Skills
Key takeaway: Create content that helps your audience learn.
Many studies have shown that marketers of all types are keen to improve their knowledge. Indeed, employers are demanding more skills and are happy to pay a premium for it. Research from the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport (summarised on Smart Insights) showed that digital occupations command a 29% salary premium.
A study by MarketingProfs (covered on MarketingCharts) found that 65% of B2B marketers reported learning a new skill, with skills in demand often on the topic of effective remote working.
B2B Marketers Want To Prove Revenue Impact — And Are Seeing Success
Key takeaway: Provide actionable guidance on how your audience can measure and improve their contribution to the bottom line.
B2B marketers have one significant hurdle compared to many of their B2C counterparts — namely, that they are not the party that closes the deal with the customer. Therefore, measuring contribution to revenue that is booked ultimately by sales is a perpetual challenge.
That being said, B2B marketers aren’t shying away from the challenge. Fortella’s State of B2B Marketing Report found that two-thirds of B2B marketers said that their primary responsibility was to drive revenue, compared to only 7% that said it was to generate brand awareness.
The good news is that The CMO Survey found that most marketing leaders report strong alignment with finance teams, showing that efforts in improving the perceived value of marketing are likely to be paying off.
Historically, studies have showed a tension between finance and marketing. In 2019, Gartner stated that finance had become an inhibitor of marketing activity, while a 2014 study by Econsultancy and Marketing Week (and produced by Andrew Warren-Payne) found that CFOs were likely to describe marketers as “fluffy and weak”.