While less than half of those surveyed by IT marketplace Spiceworks say they will have more money to work within in 2019, those who do predict they’ll see a B2B marketing budget increase of 24 per cent.
Austin, Tex.-based Spiceworks released the results of its 2019 State Of IT Marketing Report on Wednesday, which was based on survey responses from more than 350 professionals this past October. As might be expected, there are benefits to being a large enterprise, of whom 45 per cent said their B2B marketing budgets would likely increase. Bigger firms were almost twice as likely to invest in things like programmatic advertising and tools like chatbots to help buyers make purchases and solve problems.
Despite advancements in tools such as marketing automation, sales enablement applications and artificial intelligence software, meanwhile, martech came in third in terms of B2B marketing budget allocations. Top of the list was paid media efforts, which was cited by 30 per cent of respondents, followed by an old standby, trade shows, at 22 per cent. That said, 51 per cent predicted they could spend more on martech products and services in the coming year. That could be because nearly the same proportion (48 per cent) said establishing return on investment (ROI) for their budget dollars remains their biggest challenge.
For many years, marketers have relied on clicks as an indication of digital marketing success and assigned full credit to either the last asset or the first asset someone clicked before converting, explained Spiceworks vice-president of marketing Tom Rousseau.
“The problem with relying on last-click or first-click attribution is it discounts everything in between,” Rousseau told B2B News Network. “As B2B marketers, we have to factor in every event that influenced a customer to make a purchase to determine which events are more likely to lead to a conversion.”
The Spiceworks survey also confirmed that some of the most talked-about tactics and tools in B2B marketing are gaining acceptance. This includes account-based marketing (ABM), which is projected to be used by 70 per cent of respondents by 2020, followed by 71 per cent for video marketing and 61 per cent for on-demand content strategies.
More intriguingly, while it has become a standard part of business-to-consumer marketing tactics, the Spiceworks report also showed 51 per cent of those surveyed plan to use some form of influencer marketing by next year, compared with less than half, or 44 per cent, who said they plan to use analytics and AI tools. Rousseau, however, predicted an increase in the use of applications that track purchase intent signals as a way for marketers to be better aligned with their counterparts in sales.
“Buyers are presented with the info they need, right when they need it,” he said.
Brands also recognize they can’t do everything themselves, with 30 per cent of B2B marketing budgets being allocated towards creative partners such as ad agencies, and a similar proportion (27 per cent) going to digital agencies and partners. No matter the expertise they draw upon or the tools they use, however, Rousseau said the impact B2B firms have on buyers should be largely the same.
“They’re more likely to engage with a brand or click on an ad if the product or service is relevant to their job and offers a timely solution to a challenge,” he said. “This holds true no matter if a brand is using native ads, chatbots, or video ads to reach their buyers.”
Some technologies may take considerably longer to find a home in B2B, however: only 17 per cent said they were looking at customer experiences based on virtual reality or augmented reality.