Upside Down on Marketing Priorities
Regalix Research recently published their State of B2B Marketing 2015 report. The report detailed the budgets, priorities, digital and offline channels and the content preferences of B2B marketers.
According to those who responded to the survey the top five objectives were as follows:
- Increase In Revenue: 67%
- Increase Leads Generated: 65%
- Increase in Sales: 63%
- Increase in Customers Acquired: 59%
- Improved Engagement/Customer Relationship: 55%
As a follow-on commentary the analysts from Regalix stated the following, “Improved Engagement/Customer relationship seems to have fallen in priority this year, giving us the feeling that marketers, especially in the B2B space, are yet to find a direct correlation between increased customer engagement and sales. . .”
Does anyone else see a problem here?
When looking at these top five objectives, it is clear that they are all inter-connected, however, there are two major issues that I believe this prioritization and drop in Improved Engagement/Customer Relationship highlights.
1. Marketers Are Still Struggling With Measurement & Analytics
As the analysts from Regalix state, marketers are not finding a direct correlation. However, it is due to the fact that they do not know HOW to make that correlation. Measurement, analysis and optimization are the job of any B2B marketer who is involved in Demand Generation. The idea that 50% of marketers, according to the study, are going to spend more and do more, but cannot demonstrate how that “more” leads to increased sales is quite astonishing.
At last week’s Content2Conversion Conference, the theme across many presentations, including mine, was aligning content to your buyer and engaging with them at a deeper level. While this is not an easy task unto it’s own, if this is going to be the focus of B2B marketers, then it is also necessary that they show the benefit of how this alignment is driving revenue to the organization.
2. Marketers Are Prioritizing Outcomes Ahead of their Buyers
In order to achieve the outcome of increased revenue, leads, sales, and customers acquired, it necessitates that you improve the ability to engage with your buyers and improve customer relationships. Today’s sophisticated buyers have more options than ever before, more ways to access information and want to have relevant conversations with vendors. By lowering this as a priority (perhaps because it requires big changes), marketers are actually working against themselves in achieving their top objectives. As one ANNUITAS CMO client recently told me “now that we have taken the steps to be a buyer-first Demand Generation organization, our sales people are more engaged, we have made their jobs easier and they are closing more deals. It is all because we took the time and made the changes necessary to truly understand the buyer and build those relationships.”
It does not matter that B2B marketers are seeing increased budgets, are creating more content and acquiring new technologies. Unless there is a clear understanding that the buyer is priority number one, the expected outcomes will not be realized, no matter what you spend or create.