Delivering quality leads is far and away the number one priority for B2B marketers in 2017, according to a new study, “The 2017 State of B2B Digital Marketing,” by DemandWave. As further confirmation that lead generation is the focus of the B2B market, driving more leads is ranked as the second most important digital marketing objective (23 percent).
However, delivering quality leads is also today’s biggest digital marketing challenge for 32 percent of the survey’s respondents. Measuring and proving ROI (24 percent) and generating enough leads (16 percent) were also named as top challenges.
Nearly all B2B marketers – 91 percent – expect their digital marketing budget to increase or stay the same this year. A total of 38 percent of marketers will spend more than 60 percent of their overall marketing budget on digital efforts.
As for digital marketing channels, B2B marketers reported email (73 percent) and organic search (70 percent) drive the most leads for their company. Those two channels also bring in the most revenue for B2B (tied at 66 percent).
For the fourth year running, the number one way (31 percent) to measure digital marketing performance is conversion rate (leads to customers); lead volume (25 percent) and ROI (22 percent) were the second and third most popular answers.
In terms of content marketing, blogs (82 percent), videos (82 percent) and white papers (73 percent) are the three most named content types. However, white papers (53 percent) and webinars (50 percent) are the top content types that drive leads.
B2B marketers are making strides in measuring digital ROI and tracking where leads are coming from, the researchers noted. About one-quarter of respondents name ROI as the number one metric to gauge performance, up 77 percent from last year’s study, the authors noted.
Improving Lead Quality is Top Priority and Challenge for Marketers
An August 2016 study by Ascend2 had similar results to the DemandWave survey. It revealed providing the sales team with high-quality leads is by far the number one priority for marketers.
A total of 77 percent of respondents named improving the quality of leads as the most important goal; the second most popular lead generation goal was acquiring new customers (50 percent).
While a focus of marketers, lead quality is also a struggle for marketing professionals – about half identified it as their top challenge.