Tom Cole, CEO at RDA shares his thoughts on a recent article from Business 2 Community - “If you'd like to get a feeling for where you fit in versus your peers when it comes to thinking about Digital Marketing this article has some good comparative information.”
2016 has been a year of technological innovation and adoption in the B2B marketing world. Over the span of the year the number of MarTech vendors has nearly doubled, over $1 billion in venture capital has been invested in marketing technology, and marketing budgets have grown exponentially (“Walker Sands State of Marketing Technology 2017 Closing the Gap Between Martech Innovation and Adoption,” 2016). With the growth in solutions, channels, and data, marketers have increasingly become more analytical and strategic when implementing campaigns to drive revenue.
As marketers strive to drive revenue, they focus on crafting campaigns that impact the entire funnel—from the top, to the bottom. Bizible classifies this full-funnel approach as Pipeline marketing, the next evolution of lead generation that focuses on connecting marketing and sales data to enable decision-making and goals based on revenue.
In an effort to understand where marketers are investing and how they are measuring success, Radius has partnered with Bizible, Heinz Marketing, Reachforce, and Uberflip to launch the “State of Pipeline Marketing Report 2016” (SOPM report). The report reveals marketers’ top priorities, strategies, and tactics for the fiscal year. In today’s blog I present the top five marketing trends for 2017, supported by key statistics from the report.
1. Marketing Budgets are Increasing
According to the SOPM report, 57.3% of marketers expect their marketing budget to increase in 2017 and 30.5% of marketers expect their budget to stay the same.
It’s no surprise that marketing budgets continue to increase year over year as marketers become directly responsible for revenue generation and customer-facing efforts. Gartner’s “2016-2017 Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Spend Survey” further validates the trends, showing that marketing budgets have increased for the third consecutive year. Gartner states that a CMO’s marketing technology spend can exceed that of a CIO in 2017, signaling a shift in the traditional marketing paradigm.
2. Marketers are Increasingly Responsible for Driving Revenue
In the SOPM report, 45.7% of respondents said that generating more leads is their top marketing priority, while 34.1% of marketers said converting leads to customers/revenue was theirs. Though top-of-the-funnel marketing is a priority, only 11% of respondents are primarily measured on lead volume. Fifty percent of respondents measure marketing performance based on pipeline, revenue, or customer generation.
Generating leads remains a top priority for marketers, but when it comes to metrics they are being evaluated on pipeline, revenue, and/or customer generation. As marketers control acquisition budgets with the purpose of driving revenue, they are being held accountable for company growth. With such responsibilities in mind, marketers know that targeting the right prospects and using budget effectively is key. Thus, campaign ROI and revenue generation are top of mind. Marketers are revenue drivers.
3. Content Marketing is Gaining in Importance
According to the SOPM Report, 73.6% of respondents plan on increasing their amount of content marketing, while only 1.1% of respondents said they would be doing less.
Content marketing is a hot topic in B2B marketing. Content plays a critical role throughout the buyer’s journey, as it guides prospects and promotes customer stories. Email campaigns, blogs, webinars, and ebooks all have a direct effect on pipeline generation. Content Marketing Institute’s “2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America Report” reveals that 89% of B2B marketers use content marketing, and 29% of the total marketing budget is spent on content alone. Content marketing will continue to be of increasing importance in the B2B marketing world.
4. Data Accuracy Remains a Top Concern Among B2B Marketers
When asked how confident marketers are in the accuracy of their B2B data, 35% of respondents reported not being confident in the accuracy of marketing data (1 or 2 rating), while 34.4% reported being neither confident nor not confident (3), and 31.5% reported being confident.
Confidence in data accuracy has long been a major concern for B2B marketers, within both their CRMs and their marketing automation tools. “B2B Demand Metric Benchmark Report: April, 2016,” a research report published by Radius and Demand Metric, validates the claim: 80% of marketing teams blame data quality for ineffective demand gen processes. B2B marketing data is often fragmented, inaccurate, and out of date. To solve those problems, marketers will continue to assess technology solutions that will give a clear representation of their data for more effective marketing campaigns.
5. Predictive Analytics Adoption Continues to Rise
In the SOPM report,18.6% of respondents said they are using predictive analytics, and 35.5% aren’t currently using but are considering. Nearly 17% of the respondents are entirely unsure about Predictive.
Businesses are becoming more aware of predictive analytics, and are adopting predictive solutions every day. As leading analyst firms conduct research and tech-savvy marketers look for solutions to drive revenue, they’re finding that Predictive is the answer. Predictive is especially relevant for pipeline marketers looking to discover what efforts are sourcing pipeline and generating revenue. In lead generation, 20% of leads are responsible for 80% of sales. Predictive analytics predicts that 20% ahead of time, increasing marketing and sales process efficiency. Marketers will continue to become more aware of the predictive space and implement predictive technologies as they look to grow their business.