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What Works Where in B2B Digital

The research has been conducted, the results are in. For the second year running, Omobono partnered with The Marketing Society to produce an authoritative report on what senior marketers view as effective when it comes to spending their budgets on B2B digital marketing. This year, as well as client side input, we also looked at views of effectiveness from the buyer side.

Like all good research, it produced an Aladdin’s cave of data (thanks to our research partners Circle Research).  But the challenge is to look at what the data actually tells us and use it to drive our activities in the future.  

Marketers are getting it right

Overall, it seems that B2B marketers are getting it right.  The way we carve up our budgets broadly reflects the way in which our buyer audiences imbibe information. But we are living in a 2.0 digital world now, where it’s not enough to do it, you have to do it well.  Integrating messages across digital channel and maximising the effectiveness of each one is where companies can drive the difference between success and failure.  This is a key area in which agencies can add value.

Relationships matter

We’ve always believed that relationship drive business, but here it is in black and white.  Seventy five per cent of B2B marketers put ‘deepening customer relationships’ as one of their top priorities.  Personal relationships, in particular, remain vital, with over one third of buyers being most influenced to buy by the people they meet.  Meanwhile fifty on per cent of buyers say professional advisors and consultants are the most useful source for identifying and evaluating a supplier, making it the most influential source in the research.  So influencer marketing continues its critical role in B2B.

The value of thought leadership

Of course it’s important that buyers come across you when they are keeping up-to-date with issues in the marketplace. However B2B marketers, particularly from large companies who attach importance to thought leadership, understand that being known is not enough – you need to be known for something. But despite marketers belief that social media is the most effective channel to build thought-leadership, a third of buyers don’t use it as information source.  Marketers, it would seem, need to look at the full panoply of digital channels at their disposal.

Channels of influence 

While digital is a crucial part of the marketing mix, on average only forty per cent of budgets are committed to it. The remainder supports what are undoubtedly still critical offline activities – from industry sponsorship to bespoke events.  However, some of the digital channels that marketers are pulling budget out of (corporate websites, email, SEO) are essential to buyers.  So ignore them at your peril. 

Finally, mobile has continued to climb, now taking seven per cent of the marketing budget (and growing faster than anything else, except social media).  And judging by how much work we’re doing on mobile currently, we’d expect to see this upward trend continue in the 2013 report. 

To download a copy of the research report and view the supporting charts, go to: omobono.com/wwwb2b