B2B Marketing Trends Report Urges Focus on Events, Video and ABM

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Videos draw eyeballs. Jim Sinkinson, who will be presenting the pre-conference workshop at next week's Business Information & Media Summit (BIMS) in Fort Lauderdale, has said just having "video" in a subject line triggers a huge jump in clicks.

And numbers from Connectiv member Informa Engage's new B2B Marketing Trends Report back that up. "The incredible metrics of video cannot be ignored: It's boosting email click-through rates 200-300% and increasing landing page conversions rates by 80%. Videos (highly visual storytelling) activate brand interest, build brand retention and enhance the buyer's journey."

One other takeaway jumped out at me. The report goes all in on events, saying in one headline that Live Events Are the Linchpin to B2B Marketing. "Our research shows that a combination of offline and online event activities are essential to the B2B marketer's game plan."

Here are more highlights from the report:

1. Email thrives. The top tactics leveraged in 2018 were: email marketing (78%), industry events (70%), social media (68% - down from being number one last year), content marketing (60%) and banner ads (54%).

2. Where do you think B2B marketers will increase their investment most in 2019? The answer is video (55%). SEM and social were next at 54% and then SEO at 52%. While only 18% of "small" companies are doing custom video creation, the report says that will increase by 61% next year. Said one marketer: "Video is a key go-to market element for us. We use animations like 'a day in the life of an operator' at the top of the funnel and then real people talking about key issues for the bottom of the funnel."

3. One of the other two big 2019 trends is Account Based Marketing. "Although ABM is largely used by larger companies, a striking 62% of those that are using it plan to increase their spend on it in 2019. Technology investments to automate ABM are high, which often inhibits smaller organizations' ability to take part." Only 17% of small companies currently use it.

4. Social media (57%) remains #1 for driving awareness, followed by articles (50%), blog posts (45%), video (43%), newsletters (39%) and in-person events (39%). The most successful content marketing tactics for driving leads are in-person events (55%), white papers (43%), webinars (40%), SEO (34%) and case studies (33%).

5. Tracking content marketing effectiveness is still a challenge. "As marketers move towards more personalized content and marketing approaches, they are also struggling with the increased cost of time and resources."

6. Be honest about time. The three bottom dwellers on the What We Do Well lists are time and resources, access to measurement tools and realistic performance expectations.

7. Webinars still drive leads. Organizations that are effective at generating marketing qualified leads use more white papers and webinars.

8. "Lead generation is all about quality." However, less than one-third of marketers surveyed said they are doing it well. "Make your marketing tactics feel like they are genuinely created by a human, and create authentic experiences like face-to-face events. These have been proven to yield the highest quality leads."

9. Bring sales and marketing together. The top obstacles in converting leads to sales are: alignment between sales and marketing (34%), budget (34%), time and bandwidth (31%), quality data for targeting (21%) and strategic direction (21%). "Fewer than a third of marketers are confident in their abilities to generate high quality leads. They will succeed when they can effectively strike a balance between what they want to talk about, and what the market wants to hear with right depth of content creation."

10. In-person events and trade shows are the most effective lead gen tactic for 61% of B2B marketers. Even though it's pricey, one-third of all marketers plan to increase spending on events in 2019.

11. Use events to reach out. And it's not just about in-person events. Multi-faceted campaigns that marketers build around events—with multi-touch pre- and post-show marketing efforts—create lead generation and engagement. Two-thirds of all companies plan to participate in five or more events next year.

Download the report here

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…