Of the 70 agencies that feature in this year’s B2B Marketing Agency League, 10 show no or negative turnover growth. In past years this could be explained away by a recessionary environment. However, the UK economy is once again growing and this is feeding through to B2B marketing budgets. In Q3 2014 the B2B Barometer study found that 56% of B2B marketers have seen their budget grow in the last 12 months, with an average increase of 19% (you can find the full results of the B2B Barometer here: http://goo.gl/tk3Mez) .
So why are these agencies struggling?
As you go about your daily business it’s unlikely that you’ll come into contact with many people who think that a pair of jeans and a nuclear power plant have a lot in common. And with good reason. Both can keep you warm, but there are some blindingly obvious differences such the physical features and the level of danger (although some of those skinny jeans can be quite hazardous if one lunges unexpectedly).
The example is tongue-in-cheek, but the point is quite serious. There are fundamental differences between B2C and B2B markets. In fact, as illustrated in the infographic below, there are 12 key features which make B2B markets unique.
There used to be a debate about whether social media was relevant in B2B. Just four years ago, less than one quarter (23%) of B2B marketers described it as ‘highly relevant’ to their brand (source: B2B Barometer). Now, those holding out against the social tidal wave are few and far between. Indeed, many B2B brands are social media pioneers.
Lithium Technologies’ recently published Klout 50 study is testament to this. The study ranks the 50 most influential brands on social media. As you’d expect the list includes big-hitters from the consumer world. Brands like Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Nike. But more surprising is how many B2B brands are featured. Nineteen of the 50 brands listed have a significant or exclusive B2B focus to their business*.
When Big Data finally becomes a reality, does that mean market research will become surplus to requirements? Will surveys, focus groups and interviews become relics of a bygone age?
Some would say so.
Here’s my attempt at a bit of Derren Brown-esque trickery.
If you’re a B2B marketer, annual planning is on your mind. Events, email and content feature heavily. Two fifths of your budget is allocated to digital channels. How did I do?
If I got close to the truth, it’s not clairvoyance but just educated guesswork. In particular the B2B Barometer suggests that, on average, B2B marketers spend 39% of their budget on digital.
It’s official. Content is king.
The latest B2B Marketing Benchmark report produced in association with Circle Research reveals that 71% of B2B marketers consider content marketing to be a critical activity. Last year less than half (43%) held this opinion.
Social media is time consuming. The average B2B marketing department spends 17% of their time on it. And if you believe in the wisdom of crowds (or self-fulfilling prophecies) then the latest B2B Social Media Benchmark report reveals where you’re likely to get the best return on this effort.
It seems that social media, in B2B at least, is a two horse race.
A new report from Circle Research and dnx confirms the view that Big Data is the next revolutionary force in marketing. 43% of marketers are already mining petabytes of customer data to uncover hidden insights into behaviour; a further 40% plan to embrace Big Data’s benefits in the next three years.
Here’s the good news for the market research community.
We’ve all heard the hype. Big Data is the next revolutionary force in marketing. By mining the petabytes of information which sit on our corporate servers and elsewhere, we can uncover hidden insights into customer behaviour.
And a new report from dnx based on a survey by Circle Research of some of the UK’s top B2B marketers suggests the hype is fast becoming reality. Eight in ten marketers already use Big Data (43%) or plan to (40%) in the next three years.