Business-to-business marketers will focus on in-house email marketing, social media, and especially referral/advocate marketing strategies in 2018, according to a recent report by Software Advice, a website that reviews CRM software solutions.
The B2B Demand Generation Benchmark Survey polled 150 mostly c-level marketing executives about their spending priorities in the New Year. It also asked about demand generation performance by channel, content and offer. The channels that received a greater than 50 rating of "somewhat high" as the most popular and productive for producing high quantity and quality leads were mostly digital in nature with referral/advocate marketing thrown into that mix. Email marketing (in-house lists), Print/radio/TV advertising, Retargeting advertising, Search engine advertising, and Social media advertising were the other 5.
Referral/advocate marketing received the highest percentage of votes for being a top spending priority in 2018, with grades for quality and quantity of leads at 68% and 63%, respectively. This was one diversion from the digital focus. The leads channel garnered decent marks for producing quality and quantity of leads. One of the first things we discovered were the most widely-used channels.
The research shows that a mixture of both traditional and new outlets performs the best in terms of quantity and quality of leads.
Despite marketers admitting social media doesn’t produce quality or quantities of leads on a consistent basis, the channel received among the highest percentage of votes for elevated spending in 2018.
Surprisingly, only 45 percent of marketing automation users found that marketing automation is "very" or "extremely important."
One possible reason for this scale is that marketing automation systems tend to be used in a highly B2C or business-to-consumer context.
This technology should not be understated. Instead of dumping every prospect onto sales, this technology automatically scores, routes, filters and cultivates leads. All the while, management can see each of these activities and they have an objective process for gauging process performance. If they see a certain kind of lead isn’t performing as well as expected, they could turn down the score for that type and effectively lower its priority. Or they might move that lead type down the funnel and into an automated drip marketing program.
If you are interested in reading more about the findings, click here.