The last two months were all about predictions for B2B marketers.
The guesswork is over.
Today, we’re going to tell you some things that are happening out there, and things you need to know — from the eyes of an analyst, marketing consultant and marketer in the trenches.
More Money to Spend
This one comes with a caveat. Although a recent Forrester survey of director-level marketers in firms with more than 100 employees revealed marketers think their budgets will increase 6 percent in aggregate, only 32 percent actually said they expected to see an increase. The majority (45 percent) said they were hoping to hold flat with last year.
“When 61 percent of respondents say their companies met or exceeded revenue goals, I would have expected more to reflect this positive business outcome in future marketing spend expectations,” Laura Ramos, a Forrester Research analyst, told CMSWire.
Marketing Automation is Hot
Shane Lennon, digital chief marketing officer for VirtualCMO, said more money is being spent on marketing automation/technologies to drive more effective and efficient marketing teams. Marketers, he said, are getting insights from a range of data sources to drive marketing, business and product decisions on strategic and tactical levels.
“I don’t believe you need a big data solution, especially in B2B,” said Lennon, who works with companies/heads of marketing who are driving/trying to drive true digital transformation.
Marketing teams need to scale their capabilities, become agile and overall do more with the same headcount. At the same time, they must effectively engage customers across multiple channels — digitally (mobile, web, social), offline and through sales conversions.
"Automation with agile processes aligned to the right skills are critical," Lennon said.
CMOs/CIOs 'Joined at Hip'
For Lindsay Resnick, chief marketing officer at the KBM Group: Health Services, a WPP company, the CIO and CMO working together is simply unavoidable.
“On the digital side, content marketing, social and mobile will command a lot of budget growth this year,” he said. “Follow-on issues will be around public/private cloud, interactive attribution and addressable TV. At the same time, CMOs and CIOs will become joined at the hip as sophisticated marketing platform management drives approaches to intelligent customer engagement.” Resnick cited a single integrated environment for campaign, message and production management, online and offline, as an example.
Love to Hate Trade Shows
Trade shows and in-person events continue to occupy the number one spot in the marketing budget mix, according to Ramos’ research. The fact that B2B marketers hate these events doesn’t surprise Ramos — they are relatively expensive to produce and typically involve long lead times. About 30 percent are cutting budgets this year for these types of events, representing the number one ranked area for cost cutting in Forrester's survey.
“Having done similar research in 2009 and 2010, when I worked at Forrester previously, we found almost identical results,” Ramos told CMSWire. “However, marketers continue to spend in this area every year. B2B depends on face-to-face interactions, and events are where that happens.”
Content Marketing Strategy Gains Steam
One big area Lennon sees is marketers driving for a “content marketing strategy.” This, he said, depends on the business, and some are not even calling it that yet, but that’s what they are trying to do.
“Thought leadership is part of it or often the starting point for a content marketing strategy,” Lennon added.
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