The 2019 Marketing Mix Report is out, and a clear picture of the current state of B2B marketing has emerged. For twelve years, the report has gathered and presented data from healthcare, technology and business services professionals and provided a comprehensive analysis to help businesses get a sense of B2B marketing’s top trends. This year’s report offers significant insights that marketers can use to strategize for, and stay competitive in, the year ahead. Increased personalization is the major theme of 2019, as the data reveals a focus on in-person marketing and enhanced digital targeting.
Marketers Are Embracing New Digital Tools
As the technological revolution continues, the tools marketers have access to are becoming more complex, offering the capability of targeting top prospects at any time or location online, as well as allowing for more powerful analysis through data collection. With greater complexity comes greater opportunity, and fortunately, marketers seem to be making the most of it. The number of companies placing top priority on digital has risen by 10 percent from last year to represent the majority of companies for the first time. Meanwhile, social has fallen, suggesting that companies are moving away from organic social toward the targeting advantages of paid social, which also allows them to hone their content effectiveness for top prospects.
LinkedIn was the top choice by far for B2B social media marketing, which makes sense because of the paid tools it offers marketers. LinkedIn Sponsored Content is a great way to get your content in front of an audience, and InMail has a response rate three times greater than traditional email.
Of course, the go-to for marketers when they’re looking to increase online contact with prospects is SEO, and marketers have ramped up their efforts by leaps and bounds in that department. Marketers listing SEO as a focus has increased by 20 percent since last year to over 70 percent. As marketers try to actively encourage prospects to reach out, SEO has developed as a way of creating personalized content that will excite prospects and make finding solutions to their problems easier.
Traditional has a major presence in B2B marketing, and it still has a few innovations left up its sleeves. Account-based marketing was listed as the top marketing technique companies are interested in trying out, and the new trend shows a lot of promise in being able to take personal contact to a new level. By pursuing individual prospects that wield influence over a business that would be transformational to land as a client, marketers can be selective with their resources while aiming to make a big improvement in their business. Plus, if the pursuit doesn’t actually end in a deal, the highly personalized materials used to market to that company should be easily adjusted to suit the next target.
Besides account-based marketing, interactive content, inbound marketing and personalization all top the list of techniques marketers are interested in, reinforcing human-focused marketing as a big focus in 2019. Tradeshow and event marketing remain steady sources of leads for marketers, suggesting that methods that have always added a personal touch will remain popular in the year ahead.
Video marketing, another way marketers are re-designing their messaging to appeal to leads in a more immediate way, also saw a large boost as YouTube’s popularity among marketers rose by 10 percent while Vimeo’s nearly doubled.
Marketing’s Role and Budgets Are Expanding
As we see more advanced digital and hands-on, in-person marketing taking center stage, the duties that fall to marketing, and the size of the investment companies are making in marketing, has increased. Marketers list increasing web traffic, increasing sales leads, converting leads to customers and increasing brand awareness as their top priorities. This points to the broad number of hats a modern marketer must wear in a complex B2B market that requires both immediate sales and long-term investment in technological capabilities and brand strategy.
Meanwhile, the new techniques that a competitive market demands require more training and cost to apply effectively. As a result, companies are devoting more resources to marketing. Almost 40 percent of B2B companies now spend 10 percent or more of their budget on marketing, and since last year, we’ve seen a five percent rise in the number of companies spending the maximum amount surveyed. As the lines between marketing and sales and digital and traditional blur, and new innovations produce greater ROI with more spend, we may see that number continue to increase.
Applying the Report’s Findings in the Year Ahead
The 2019 B2B Marketing Mix Report gives us a sense of the current state of marketing and how it will evolve in the year ahead—and how we can stay competitive to keep up. The good news for marketers is that methods to do so abound, with technological advancements and innovations in traditional marketing helping marketers to make direct and compelling contact with customers. However, since all marketers have access to these tools, a more aggressive market is developing. If businesses want their messaging to be heard, they’re going to have to expand the scope and resources allotted to their marketing. But if successful in adapting their approach, they could be set for a new level of success in 2019.
Want more specific stats on marketing in 2019? Download the full 2019 B2B Marketing Mix Report today to take a look and start supplementing your marketing plan with the biggest takeaways from modern B2B marketers like you.