Marketing automation leader Eloqua has revealed that 61 percent of marketers have not changed marketing strategy in the recession. The research conducted at the recent Technology for Marketing & Advertising conference in London highlights key trends for the B2B marketing industry and challenges preventing its growth. Budget cuts (40 percent), a lack of industry understanding (19 percent) and lack of integration between teams (17 percent) are highlighted as key challenges that must be overcome if the industry is to succeed in the recession.

Interestingly, the majority of respondents surveyed believe that nurturing and converting sales inquiries into qualified leads is more important than generating new leads in B2B marketing campaigns. Notably, half of respondents currently have a marketing automation system in place, but only 6 percent of respondents named raw lead generation as the most important component of their sales and marketing campaign. The survey also discovered that a third of the marketers didn’t know how many of their marketing leads turn into buyers, while more than 75 percent said more effective measurement would make their business more competitive.

The results support the strategies outlined in Eloqua’s new whitepaper entitled “The Springboard Effect,” which details the importance of increasing conversion rates through the marketing and sales pipeline and how businesses can leverage marketing automation techniques to enhance ROI from sales and marketing campaigns and emerge stronger after a recession.

“During economic downturns, far too many organizations spend time agonizing over where to cut back in order to recession-proof their business. Historically, the budget axe would often strike hardest in marketing because of its perceived function as a pure cost center,” said Brian Kardon, chief marketing office, Eloqua. “The results from our survey reinforce what many of today’s business leaders understand – never before has it been more important for marketing organizations to invest in solutions that enable them to better understand and track their prospects’ ‘Digital Body Language.’ Programmes and processes that manage, nurture, automate and deliver a greater number of qualified leads to sales are invaluable in protecting and growing the bottom line.”

Eloqua’s survey also found that 41 percent of marketing executives reported that their sales and marketing organizations are not currently aligned. “In a tight economy, the need for a smooth hand-off of leads from marketing to sales becomes even more critical. Eloqua delivers seamless integration between sales and marketing databases as well as lead routing processes that facilitate the most efficient follow up and effective results,” continued Kardon.

The research also highlights that email marketing is set to be the biggest growth channel for B2B marketers in 2009, followed by direct mail and real time lead generation.

For more examples of how businesses can strategically optimize their marketing and sales activities to create a competitive advantage, download a free copy of “The Springboard Effect” whitepaper at http://www.eloqua.com/resources/whitepapers/springboard_effect_recession_marketing.html.

About Eloqua
Eloqua is the category-defining marketing automation leader and provider of best practices expertise for marketers around the world. The company’s mission is to make its customers the best marketers on earth. Thousands of customers from leading companies such as American Express, AON, Apple, Cognos, Dow Jones, Fidelity, Seagate and Sybase rely on the power of Eloqua to execute, automate and measure programs that generate revenue. Eloqua helps companies read and decode their buyers’ Digital Body Language™, thereby improving the quality and quantity of sales leads, increasing marketing effectiveness, and accelerating the selling process. Eloqua is headquartered in Vienna, Virginia, with offices in Toronto, London, Singapore and throughout North America. For more information, please call 866-327-8764 or email demand@eloqua.com.

Published on: 3:08PM on 16th April 2009