We’ve just had printed and delivered our latest B2B Marketing Insight Report. This is an annual review of the B2B market that talks to senior decision makers in B2B marcomms to find out what they are thinking and doing. This is part of our commitment to thought leadership, walking the walk of the world’s leading b2b agency and creating a deeper understanding of the markets we and our clients operate in.
This is the 3rd year we we have produced the report so we are starting to see some quite important trend data emerge. It’s also been one of the most challenging years for the industry, certainly in my working lifetime , so it is interesting to hear how B2B practitioners are responding.
It was heartening to see that over 200 senior decision makers and B2B marketers were willing to invest their valuable time in the project. Our respondents came from a variety of sectors and types of business, both big and small but with a healthy representation from MNC (over 50%) and with a third turning over at least £40 million.
B2B marketing is a specialist and evolving discipline which is rapidly coming of age.
One of the most encouraging and immediate out-takes was that despite the alarming state of the economy, there remains a remarkable sense of quiet optimism among our respondent base with over 25% expecting budgets to increase in the next 12 months and over 70% fairly confident about the future.
There are a number of key out takes and I’d strongly recommend you to get hold of a copy (visit http://www.b2bm.biz/insight09/). One of the stand out findings for me, was the rapid acceleration of marketing money into cost effective, accountable, quick to execute and measurable online activity – at the expense of traditional (and, by implication, wasteful) techniques. A trend that’s seen online spending bucking the trend, to show the largest year on year growth.
It’s not unsurprising, considering that 72% of our respondents say their job performance is judged on measurability. However, I think that there is a grave danger that we fall into the trap of mistaking measurability for effectiveness, anyone who’s done a statistics O Level will tell you they are not the same thing.
If you dig a bit deeper into the figures you will see that people don’t actually set out to invest in measuring these channels; the forms of measurement they cite (website visits, email click-throughs and email open rates) already exist by default. When it comes to measuring other marcomms, as we all know, it’s a bit harder and takes a bit more effort. We all know that ‘what doesn’t get measured doesn’t get done’ – which explains some of the key reasons why we are seeing these expenditure trends. My personal worry is that we are disinvesting brands with this mindset and I think it’s no surprise that one of the other stand-out statistics in the report is the leap in digital comms use for brand building.
It’s interesting to note that while the majority of respondents considered a brand to be critical to supporting business growth, only 7% actively measure the equity in their brand, with just 6% putting the value of the brand on their balance sheet.
This theme of ‘brand or demand’ is something we are currently looking at with B2B brand owners and will report on over the coming months.
Danny Turnbull, Managing Director and European Practice Leader of Manchester marketing agency, gyro