According to a recent nationwide survey from Crain's BtoB Magazine and business audience marketing company Bizo, 48% of marketers polled cited reaching more of their target audience a challenge in 2012.
The survey showed that more than 60 percent of marketers claim their biggest marketing task at hand this year is drumming up additional leads, with more than a quarter planning to diversify their marketing tactics this year.
Among the findings:
- Paid search came in as the second-ranked tool for marketing, followed by display advertising (35 percent));
- Sixty percent of marketers claim their biggest challenge this year will be generating additional leads;
- Sixty-three percent of marketers state that their marketing mix either falls short of sales demand or they are not entirely sure their mix is working;
- 56 percent note brand promotion as a major area of focus;
According to John DiStefano, research director with Crain's BtoB Magazine, "This is a period of creative re-invention for marketers, in the end marketing will emerge as a stronger more potent discipline.
"We have moved from a push environment, to pull style messaging, to finally the permission economy. While this contextualizing of the sales funnel presents challenges for some marketers, others are leveraging the new tools to reach their audiences online and drive more targeted, effective campaigns. This data shows that there is still a tremendous opportunity to further leverage new technologies and emerging channels to boost marketing results," DiStefano remarked.
Have the Proper Measuring Tools in Place
With close to 40 percent of marketers in the survey stating precise measurement and attribution of online conversations being a top online marketing challenge, it would seem finding more accurate measuring tools should be a prime goal moving forward.
Even with the right tools, if you're not putting them to use on a regular basis, what's the sense of having them in the first place?
It is important as a marketer that you regularly examine your analytics, not just with the last month or two of data, but against the numbers you had this time a year ago and even further back where possible.
For lead generation programs, the first step is searching through the data to determine where leads are presently generated. Next you will want to identify the data so that you can put together a most favorable data model. Think of the process as a journey for your customer, a customer that is becoming more and more educated (see below), one that you can be along for the ride from start to finish.
Are You Prepared for a More Educated Buyer? Another recent study, Marketing Sherpa's 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, points out that as buyers become more educated, B2B marketers must prioritize where their allocations will be going in order to avoid wasting resources, along with increasing the chances of making a sale.
According to the report (1,745 marketers participated), even those B2B marketing tricks that could be perceived as most effective like SEO and Web site design, witnessed up to a 50 percent drop in overall success from just a year earlier.
While it should not come as a big secret to B2B marketers, more and more customers are doing their homework online as it pertains to buying well before they initiate the sales process. In order to deal with this, marketers must highlight opportunity zones that are known to be successful, along with trying out different tactics to form a prioritized lead generation performance plan.
A company's Web site is the obvious starting point of a successful performance plan, but there are important channels tied to the site, most notably SEO, content and e-mail marketing that all play significant roles.
While we will talk about e-mail marketing and its role in the B2B marketing process in an upcoming blog post, let's take a look at SEO for the moment.
Knowing that customers most oftentimes use a search engine to find one's site, it is important that your company show up on searches engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing for example. In order to successfully do this, make sure you fully grasp both keywords and content, knowing how they work with one another to reach a prime spot in searches.
For those marketers either new to the arena or needing a refresher course, remember to not only have strong and updated content, but content that is keyword-rich, allowing it to be properly indexed by search engines.
At the end of the day, SEO is but one major component of the B2B relationship between marketer and potential customer.
Take some time to better understand how SEO content works with your marketing automation and lead generation efforts, looking to drive leads from the start line to the finish line.
So, how do you go about measuring your B2B marketing efforts and would you change how you are doing things if given the chance to?