14 Key B2B Marketing Reports to Inform the Strategic Budgeting Process

B2B Marketing Reports

About a week ago Google’s Ben Gomes, VP of Search, News, and Assistant, discussed three fundamental shifts in how the search engine intends to think about Search in the coming years. For B2B marketers, the key takeaways are how search will become more personally valuable, and move away from text to a visual, more interest-based experience.

This information is timely because many organizations are thinking about budgeting and planning marketing objectives for the new year. For some, including a notable percentage of our clients, the fiscal year is already drawing to a close and strategic planning takes on an even greater urgency.

To help in these endeavors, we have compiled 14 important trend and benchmark reports and studies to aid in this process. From strategic objectives to tactical points of focus, the information below can help guide and support B2B marketing initiatives proposed in the new year and beyond.

2018 CMO Global Study

2018 CMO Global Study

From the SiriusDecisions report: The annual SiriusDecisions Global CMO Study is a key deliverable that informs our research by exploring how marketing leaders are adapting their marketing strategy to support their organization’s growth objectives. The study also examines the trends that are having the greatest influence on changes to b-to-b marketing strategies during the next two years. 

Why This Report is Significant

Understanding how the C-suite aligns strategy to growth objectives helps B2B marketers align tactics to target key audiences. This also aids in the communication of objectives in the decision to budget for investments in various acquisition channels and programs.

2018 B2B Marketing Trends

B2B Marketing Trends Report

From the Hanover Research report: The Trends in B2B Marketing report analyzes 700 research studies conducted in 2017 to detail the issues confronting B2B companies and how organizations use market intelligence and analytics to get ahead of a rapidly changing market, foster innovation, and drive growth.

Why This Report is Significant

This report delves into how technology and consumer behavior impact B2B marketing programs, from the investment in e-commerce and IoT technology to improve customer experience to the shifts in buyer behavior brought about by a growing percentage of millennial decision makers.

What Buyers Want: The State of the B2B Buyer Experience

State of the B2B Buyer Experience

From the TimeTrade survey: The results of TimeTrade’s survey are meant to offer clear, revenue-impacting indications for how organizations can better understand market dynamics, customer engagement trends, and buying preferences that shape core industries that B2B marketers operate within.

Why This Report is Significant

As detailed in coverage earlier this year, this report illustrates that B2B buyers are still interested in phone calls and virtual appointments in the sales process, despite a wide range of ways to reach target audiences. The bottom line is that understanding preferences of the B2B buyer is just as critical as adopting technology and tactics to reach them.

2018 Marketing Measurement and Attribution Benchmark Survey

Marketing Attribution and Measurement Benchmark Survey

From the DemandGen survey: This report’s survey findings and analysis outline the challenges that continue to plague marketing measurement efforts, where respondents are currently focusing efforts, and marketing goals for better measurement and attribution in the next 12 to 18 months.

Why This Report is Significant

The ability to measure marketing performance remains a top priority for B2B marketers now and in the foreseeable future. This report sheds light on where respondents are focusing efforts and tackling measurement challenges, across the B2B buyer journey, to demonstrate impact of their programs.

Generating and Nurturing Leads to Create Demand

Generating and Nurturing Leads to Create Demand

From the Ascend2 summary report: This report details how the creation of demand in a digital world requires a combination of effective strategies to both generate and nurture leads, with the goal of converting them to customers, and how marketers combine strategies to create new demand.

Why This Report is Significant

Lead generation is still a top priority for B2B marketers; both in overall lead volume and assessing the quality of leads acquired. This report looks into overarching B2B marketing priorities in relation to lead generation, tactics executed, and overall effectiveness in those efforts.

How B2B Audiences Engage With Business Content Online

How B2B Audiences Engage With Business Content Online

From the Clutch survey: Clutch surveyed more than 380 employees who have read business content online in the past week. Overall, their findings underscore the importance of strong content marketing and SEO services for businesses that want to engage customers who are interested in business-related content.

Why This Report is Significant

Also detailed in news coverage earlier this year, research suggests that B2B audiences are finding business content in a wide range of online destinations and consume it for a range of reasons. This study highlights the the type of content marketing formats most popular and the acquisition channels B2B audiences are most likely to start their journey.

The State of Customer Management in the Relationship Era

State of Customer Management in the Relationship Era

From Copper: In May 2018, 1,059 business professionals were surveyed to discover how they work together to build lasting customer relationships. What was once a one-time transaction between a business and a single buyer has evolved into long-term and mutually rewarding partnerships between teams and their customers.

Why This Report is Significant

Customer experience and the relationship between B2B vendor and buyer is becoming increasingly important. Findings from this report emphasize the collaborative nature required across business units to ensure a successful customer experience and technology important in this process.

Marketers vs. Business Leaders: The Metrics That Matter

Marketers vs Business Leaders: The Metrics That Matter

From the Spiceworks survey: Spiceworks recently surveyed nearly 200 B2B marketers to understand what metrics they track and rely on to define success. The results indicate there are several disconnects between marketing professionals and business leaders when it comes to the most important marketing metrics.

Why This Report is Significant

This survey combines many of the themes discussed in previous reports to illustrate areas of disconnect between marketing teams and business leaders. The key takeaway is that there needs to be even greater alignment in how defined marketing tactics influence sales opportunities and revenue for the organization.

2018 State of Pipeline Marketing Report

State of B2B Pipeline Marketing

From the Pipeline Marketing report: Even though marketing technology has matured and analytics systems have been able to capture more complex data and insights, far too many companies are still using metrics like lead volume to measure their performance. This report focuses on how B2B marketers drive growth, and includes data on everything from marketing budgets, priorities, technology, channels, measurement, and more. 

Why This Report is Significant

Pipeline marketing is one area where B2B marketers can better demonstrate the connection between marketing programs and revenue generation. This report outlines how B2B marketers are shifting focus to capture more information throughout the buyer journey to analyze tactics, improve performance, and demonstrate program effectiveness.

2018 Video in Business Benchmark Report

Video in Business Benchmark Report

From the Vidyard report: As businesses increase investments in video, it’s important to have relatable benchmarks to evaluate success and identify opportunities. This report analyzing the trends of businesses using video to support their marketing and sales efforts.

Why This Report is Significant

Video is becoming increasingly important to B2B marketers because of shifts in B2B buyer behavior and the greater adoption of mobile technology, among other reasons. This report looks at tactics and benchmarks important when integrating video in a digital marketing program and demonstrating the effectiveness of video across acquisition channels.

The State of B2B Email Marketing

The State of B2B Email Marketing

From the SuperOffice survey: This survey and report analyzed 1,000 B2B companies to see how they use email marketing. During a 90-day test period, SuperOffice collected data on approx. 4,500 marketing campaigns and share key findings on email frequency, design, personalization, calls-to-action and subscription handling.

Why This Report is Significant

Email marketing has always been an important channel for B2B marketers and often gets overlooked in the face of new technology, innovation, and other inbound marketing tactics. That said, comprehensive reports that delve into tactical execution of email marketing are not as common to find, particularly in the B2B space.

2018 State Of B2B Marketing Technology

State of B2B Marketing Technology

From the DemandGen report: This report discusses the reasons why the martech landscape is both consolidating and expanding, the importance of hiring marketing operations personnel and technologists to make martech decisions, and how to assess the organization’s martech stack.

Why This Report is Significant

This report’s look into how and what technologies B2B marketers are investing in can be critical when considering budgeting and planning for the new year. Key takeaways from report include an outline of priorities when investing in marketing technology, the importance of hiring competent team members, and key challenges faced.

2018 B2B Sales & Marketing Report

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From the G2Crowd study: In Autumn of 2017, G2 Crowd and Heinz Marketing conducted a study to determine how both B2B buyers and sellers utilize consumer reviews. The results of the 2018 Benchmark Report remain in line with other statistics about customer reviews and conclusively show the influence review sites have on B2B purchases.

Why This Report is Significant

Third-party validation is an important element for B2B buyers evaluating vendor solutions. This report looks at the impact consumer reviews have in the buyer journey and actionable steps for how B2B marketers can leverage them as part of their digital marketing programs.

B2B Content Marketing Report 2018

B2B Content Marketing Report

From the CMI report: B2B marketers continue to see content marketing success as they explore ways to work more creatively and build their audiences. Now in their eighth year partnering with MarketingProfs on this research, this report outlines key benchmarks, budgets, and trends in content marketing for B2B organizations

Why This Report is Significant

Even though this report was drafted late last year, it still provides an important foundation for validating the investment in content marketing and the strategies, tactics, and acquisition channels most effective in execution and performance.

Final Thoughts

Whether your organization is just in the beginning phases of strategic planning or have already defined budgets for the new year, we hope this list of B2B marketing reports is useful in identifying B2B marketing priorities  or to simply to reinforce existing strategies.

This list is by no means exhaustive, so feel free to suggest research and benchmark studies we are missing that may be of value. Let us know your thoughts through Twitter, LinkedIn, or in the comment section below!

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