The outlook from B2B marketers is positive in 2013. The BtoB Online report, "Outlook 2013: Marketing Priorities & Plans," found 49% of respondents planned to spend more this year, up from 40% in 2012. They also found only 10% said they planned to cut their budgets, demonstrating optimism from B2B marketers. The majority of B2B marketing professionals plan to increase their budget, with digital marketing being a major focus. Because customers, clients and leads are online, more and more companies are seeing the need for their business to have a presence online. However, other areas such as direct mail, events, and telemarketing continue to be a focus. When putting a plan in to place for 2013, ask yourself these three questions.
What is the Objective?
Different businesses will have different goals in 2013. While objectives may differ from company to company, there are some common trends worth paying attention to. According to John DiStefano, BtoB research director, demand-gen and customer acquisition are marketers' primary goals this year. This should be no surprise as every business owner and marketer is looking for ways to connect with new customers. Other goals included building brand awareness and customer retention. Part of that is building a better website, because that could be the first point of contact between your business and customer. BtoB found that 21% of budgets will be geared towards website development this year. Because businesses and marketers are looking to reach new customers, they need to be where their customers are. This is where budget comes in to play -- you want to put budget towards the types of marketing that are helping your business meet its goals most.
What about Budget?
While many nearly half of all B2B marketers plan to spend more this year, each area of their marketing strategy is receiving a different amount of the budgetary resources. Digital marketing will gain the most, with 67% planning to increase such spending, according to the BtoB Online poll, conducted in November, which drew 366 B2B marketer respondents. The world, and its consumers, is moving more towards the digital world when it comes to conducting research, gathering information, and making a purchase. Other areas projected to see increases include social marketing (cited by 56%), events (42%), and direct mail (35%). Social media networks and in-person events allow sales team and marketers to connect with current and potential customers on a more personal level and a personalized experience is what many customers are after. Mobile is one area many B2B marketers are turning their attention. 32% now use mobile in their marketing strategy and 35% of respondents plan to increase their spending on mobile marketing by 36%, however most marketers (68%) are not placing a high emphasis on mobile ads this year.
What is the Impact on Lead Generation?
New goals and a new spending strategy will have an impact on lead generation. As businesses figure where there customers are, dedicate more of their budget to those areas, and create more tailored content, it's likely their lead generation efforts will yield a greater ROI. Rishi Dave, executive director-digital marketing at Dell Inc., explains "We have increasingly found that our customers want to consume content-which is the center of b2b marketing-in multiple formats beyond just the computer, whether it's tablets or phones." According to the B2B Online report, more than 1 in 5 use mobile apps as part of mobile strategy. As businesses gear their content and budget more towards where they are seeing the greatest ROI, their lead generation numbers will improve. Because B2B marketers are increasing their digital marketing spend, chances are their lead generation via digital marketing channels is going to increase. Where you change your spending is where you are most likely to see a change in lead generation.
B2B marketers are looking at 2013 with a positive view. Many are increasing their budgets and focusing on the digital aspect of their business. When it comes to resource allocation this year, make sure you're paying attention to where trends are taking place, from new social networks, to whether your business is performing better via one channel versus another. B2B businesses are trying to reach their customers in those places where communication lines are better and where content is being sought. The key takeaway: be where your customers are.