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We recently launched our first B2B Internet Statistics Compendium, which sits separately from our main Internet Statistics Compendium and aims to make it easier for B2B marketers to find the relevant information needed to make sense of an increasingly complex and fast-changing marketing landscape.
There has been a great amount of B2B-focused marketing data published during recent months. In a sector which is becoming increasingly dependent on reaching out to new business across multiple channels, it has never been more important to get the mix right.
Here are some key B2B marketing trends to keep an eye on...
Traditional channels still feature heavily in the mix
According to data released by Circle Research, the Institute of Direct Marketing and the Association of B2B Agencies, the share of spend on digital marketing channels overtook that of traditional channels toward the end of 2010.
Yet, as The B2B Barometer report highlights (in addition to further research released by Google), this is less to do with the significant growth of any dominant digital channel and more to do with the diversification of online opportunities.
Trade shows, for example, remain the biggest investment for B2B marketers.
28% of B2B marketing budgets were allocated to this channel during 2010 (according to Google), while projections from Circle et al. signal that 17% of UK budgets will continue to go towards events of this kind well into 2012.
Twitter joins LinkedIn and Facebook as a top ranking social channel
Last month Circle Research also released some interesting data about the use of social media channels among B2B marketers.
The use of social channels is really beginning to become mainstream with 78% of B2B marketers engaging in social media marketing.
This widespread adoption has changed the ranking of the top social channels, with Twitter now dominating the B2B social mix used by 85% of B2B marketers.
LinkedIn, formerly the top-used social channel for B2B marketers, still retains its popularity with 77% of B2B marketers using the service. Facebook, and more interestingly YouTube, are also proving popular channels used by 67% and 66% of B2B marketers respectively.
Video is growing as both a social and content marketing tool
The rise of YouTube as a key social channel for B2B marketers is also highlighting its value as a content marketing tool.
According to B2B Content Marketing released by MarketingProfs and Junta in 2010, video was holding its own at around the middle of the tail of content marketing strategies last year.
41% of B2B marketers were using YouTube and similar services while traditional formats such as print magazines were slightly favoured (42%) and many predominantly text-based content options, including white papers (43%) and case studies (55%), were even more popular.
Investment in video as content marketing strategy was predicted to increase significantly within 2011, however.
Google reported that 35% of B2B marketers already using online video will increase their video budgets, while B2B Online echoed these predictions stating that more than half of B2B marketers will increase spending on online video this year.
B2B marketers are undoubtedly finding themselves in an increasingly multichannel environment, but trends are proving quite different within the sector compared to that of B2C companies.
As traditional channels continue to uphold their value amongst emerging digital channels, the drive for B2B businesses to stand out from the crowd via the content they produce has perhaps never seemed so pertinent.
It will be interesting to see whether video and microblogging channels will reflect their worth in the competitive B2B marketing mix as we approach 2012.