10 B2B Marketing Stats from Chief Marketer’s 2019 Outlook
The biggest challenges for B2B marketing, according to a recent report? Finding leads that convert and engaging the right target audience.
- Measuring social media ROI is a challenge for 58% of respondents, and 39% report that proving ROI is the biggest hurdle to securing C-suite buy-in.
- Only 23% of brands have a dedicated social media team.
- 60% of marketers report content marketing is their most valuable technique for lead nurturing.
Chief Marketer’s 2019 B2B Marketing Outlook report is out, and it’s full of revealing statistics for B2B marketers industry-wide. The survey studied 209 B2B marketers in more than 20 verticals, getting a bird’s eye view of biggest challenges and trends in B2B marketing.
Here are the top 10 stats you need to be aware of.
10 B2B marketing stats from Chief Marketer’s 2019 report
1) For 58% of respondents, measuring ROI is the top challenge surrounding social media marketing.
Measuring social media ROI is notoriously difficult, though certainly not impossible. For well over half of the survey respondents, it proved the greatest challenge when it comes to social media.
65% of respondents reported engagement as one of their biggest social media challenge, while 45% cited the challenge of having enough content. Adequate bandwidth to respond to social followers and post frequently and inadequate social budget (24% each) were lower on the list of social concerns.
2) Only 23% of brands have a dedicated social media team.
We’ve written before about how social media management is a herculean task that falls all-to-often to an overworked marketing team. Chief Marketing’s survey found that, for a vast majority of B2B brands (75%), their marketing team is in charge of maintaining social media presence.
Even as social media is becoming increasingly effective at ushering leads through the sales funnel, only 23% of brands surveyed have invested in a dedicated social media team, while 15% are outsourcing their social media management.
3) Articles/blog posts and reviews/customer testimonials are tied as the two most effective types of content for moving prospects through the sales funnel.
45% of respondents reported that articles and blog posts, as well as reviews and customer testimonials, are the most effective content types for moving prospects through the sales funnel.
Following closely behind, 32% reported whitepapers and 31% reported video as most effective. Partner content, at 26%, came next, while social media is gaining efficacy, coming in at 22%.
Respondents reported that for all content types, the visual aspects were key. For Informa Engage, for example, more visual content is performing well, says Tricia Syed, Vice President for Marketing Strategy and Execution. “In some markets, traditional whitepapers and webinars are still hugely popular, but we’re getting more visual with e-books [to illustrate] data.”
4) 39% of survey respondents reported being unable to prove ROI to C-suite as the biggest obstacle for getting approval for marketing expenditures.
Just as proving social media ROI is a poses a challenge for B2B marketing, proving overall content marketing ROI to win C-suite buy-in can be equally daunting. 39% reported it as the biggest hurdle to getting marketing expenditures approved.
46% of respondents cited the challenge of budgets that are focused elsewhere, while 33% reported that executives still don’t understand the need for marketing expenditures.
5) For 60% of respondents, content marketing is the most valuable technique for lead nurturing.
Content marketing is reported by 60% of marketers as their most valuable technique for lead nurturing. Email marketing led the pack at 62%, while in-person marketing took a close third place at 57%. When it comes to lead nurturing for B2B marketing, social media was relatively low on the list, reported by only 20% of respondents as their most valuable technique.
6) Only 22% of respondents have an in-house editorial team dedicated to content creation.
While content marketing is overwhelmingly reported by marketers as being a highly effective technique for generating, nurturing, and converting leads, relatively few brands have chosen to invest in a dedicated in-house editorial team for content creation. Instead, a whopping 80% of marketers are charged with creating their own content.
“That’s a surprising disconnect,” says James Furbush, B2B marketing manager of Lord Hobo Brewing. “I’m not surprised marketing teams are creating content, but if you’re going to be that focused on content marketing, having an editorial team is an important investment.”
Perhaps even more surprisingly, only 23% of respondents are taking advantage of the opportunity to outsource content creation, an excellent alternative for companies who are unable to afford a dedicated in-house team.
7) 42% say that their organizations will increase martech budgets in 2019.
Martech, or the fusion of marketing and technology, is taking over B2B marketing. 42% of survey respondents reported that their martech budgets will be increasing in 2019, while 40% said that existing martech budgets will remain the same. Only 4% reported that they anticipate a decrease in martech budget.
When asked what types of martech they plan on investing in, 45% of respondents pointed to marketing automation, 43% to video, 40% to email, 38% to customer experience, and 37% to social media management.
Interestingly, despite all the discussion surrounding AI, only 9% of businesses surveyed report that they are considering investing in these technologies.
8) When it comes to generating new leads, 55% reported that finding leads that convert is their biggest challenge.
More than half of survey respondents pointed to the challenge of finding leads that ultimately convert as the greatest obstacle to generating new leads. 57% reported that their biggest challenge is getting targeted prospects to engage with their brands.
What’s interesting about these numbers is that, while marketers are reporting these issues as lead-generation obstacles, they are simultaneously pointing to content marketing as their most effective tool for lead nurturing and conversion.
9) For 44% of respondents, email is a top source of B2B leads.
When it comes to which channels are the largest sources of B2B leads, email leads the pack, with 44% of respondents putting it first. Online searches came in at a close second at 43%, and live events came in at 41%.
A respectable 36% of respondents cited content marketing as a top source of B2B leads, while 22% pointed to social media.
Knowing where leads are coming from is only part of the picture. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the channel that produced the leads with the highest ROI was email for just under half (49%) of survey respondents.
10) 56% say cost of conversion is the metric that matters most in marketing attribution.
When asked which metrics matter most in marketing attribution, cost of conversion topped the list at 56%, followed closely by amount of time to convert at 53%. Other important metrics included channel (34%), first click (29%), and last click (22%).
“At the end of the day, the most important takeaway when setting up campaign attribution is to think about your goal,” said one respondent. “Start with the end in mind, reverse engineer your marketing campaign, and set up ‘mile markers’ along the way to track trends in your prospects’ digital footprints.”
- Video: Three Steps to Prove Social Media ROI
- 4 Metrics to Measure the Impact of Content Marketing on Brand Awareness
- Video: 4 Takeaways from the 2019 State of Video in Business Report