Business-to-business (B2B) marketers are already looking ahead to 2014, and the outlook for the year seems positive. The Sagefrog Marketing Group surveyed US B2B marketing and management professionals from a cross-section of industries in the summer of 2013 and found that 45% of respondents expected to see an increase in budgets in the next year, while 52% thought their outlays would remain the same.
The top four most popular marketing channels for B2Bs were all digital, according to the survey. Websites were the most uniformly employed technique, used by 85% of those polled. Email marketing was second at 72%, followed by social media (67%) and search engine optimization (56%). Just under half of respondents relied on trade shows, while four in 10 used direct marketing.
“Big data” has become a catchall term for the vast amount of information generated by our digital lifestyles, and the analytics techniques for dealing with it all to improve marketing, products, and business intelligence. It’s become very fashionable to decry the value of “big data” for marketing, with many pundits and consultants calling it “no big deal.”
I believe in “big data” just like I believe in the power of all data to transform our lives. Just look at the powerful applications already emerging in healthcare, world hunger, global economics, and even for those for whom hockey is more important than life itself, sport competiveness.
The opportunity in marketing and business intelligence is just as strong. Our digital lifestyles generate a tremendous amount of personal and behavioral data – in fact, IDC estimates that by 2020, the number of commercial transactions on the Internet (both B2B and B2C) will reach 450 billion per day. McKinseyforecasts that demand for “big data” in the U.S. will create up to 190,000 high-paying jobs requiring deep analytical skills by 2018.
Used responsibly, all that data has a very meaningful impact on our lives and the economy. It’s time to clear up some of the myths surrounding big data and what it can do for marketers.
Marketers are well along in their adoption of lead-generation practices, according to a new study by BtoB. Seventy-one percent of respondents said they are at least moderate participants in some form of lead generation, while 47% are “very” or “fully” involved.
However, the study, “2013 Lead Generation: Optimum Techniques for Managing Lead Generation Campaigns,” also found that not all lead-gen practices are working as smoothly as they could be. Fifty-five percent of b2b marketers responding said the effectiveness of their lead-gen efforts was just average. And the means by which marketers gauge success remains relatively unsophisticated—76% of marketers said their prime definition of a lead is a prospect request to be contacted.
This indication of serious interest was much more appreciated as a hot lead than a request for a white paper (43%), attendance at a webinar (35%) or visits to a company’s website (30%), according to BtoB’s study, which was based on an online poll conducted in June and July of 282 b2b marketing professionals. Overall, marketers placed the least value on being followed or “liked” on social media.