Marketing professionals still mainly use email. When they seek to use other channels for their campaigns they come up against the twin problems of how to measure impact and whether they are reaching their target audience.
Is B2B marketing lagging behind when it comes to innovation? It would seem so. While everyone today is talking about multichannel strategies and investment in social media, it appears that the professional marketing segment is somewhat behind the curve. These are the findings of a study carried out by Crain's BtoB Magazine in conjunction with the Bizo platform. According to Bizo, email marketing remains the preferred channel, used by half of all the people surveyed. Paid search - advertising linked to Internet searches - was ranked second with 36%, display ads were ranked third with 35%, followed by social media on 29%. Email is likely to retain its position as the number one communication channel since 59% of marketers also perceive email to be the most effective channel for actually generating revenue.
A measurement problem?
The supposed success of email campaigns claimed by B2B marketing professionals may actually be overstated however. Less than 20% of marketers say they “nearly always” attribute their leads to multiple marketing programmes, while 36% say that they “sometimes” attribute leads to more than one programme. This could therefore pose a problem when it comes to calculating just how effective the various aspects of a campaign have been. This is why marketing professionals say that developing more accurate measurement of their campaigns and attribution of online conversions are the top online marketing challenges for the coming years. Today 63% of respondents report that their marketing mix – i.e. the use of a variety of channels for a given campaign – either does not meet sales demand or they are unsure of whether their mix is effective, and more than three out of four say they plan to expand or diversify their marketing mix in 2012.
Targeting and segmentation: the key to B2B marketing?
So if they are to develop their effectiveness and ensure they can attain their objectives, B2B marketers clearly require better targeting and better segmentation. Today, the majority of B2B marketers appear to be most comfortable using segment-targeting in their email campaigns, where there is an 84% adoption rate. Why? Because they admit to being less at ease using segment-targeting in their paid search, display ads or social media programmes. They say their biggest roadblock to effective use of segment-targeting is lack of data on users (37%), with uncertainty about how to best use targeting and segmentation in campaigns a close second (33%). This shared feeling is corroborated by the fact that nearly half of e-mail marketing users say their programmes could benefit from greater focus and optimisation. It would therefore be a good idea for these email marketers to diversify, given that marketers who use display ads, paid search and social media are more optimistic, with only a quarter of them owning up to this need.