I was reading an interesting survey "B2B Marketing Budgets, Strategies, Tactics and Trends" (download a copy here) which looks at the changes in the marketing mix for companies.Posted by: David Regler @
The survey looks at tactics for both lead generation and brand awareness for B2B companies.
From a lead generation perspective, the top tactics in terms of effectiveness are:
1) Inside sales and telemarketing are considered the most effective tactic for lead generation (47.6% rated them "highly effective")
2) Trade shows and conferences are the next most effective (moving up to 2nd place from 3rd in the previous year's survey)
3) Executive breakfasts and events fell from 1st place to 3rd place in the survey.
Another thing that stood out to me is that marketers from large companies consistently rated inside sales and telemarketing as highly effective in generating leads whilst smaller companies are more likely to use lower-cost digital tactics for lead generation (search marketing, websites, podcasts) even though "these tactics are not among those they rate most effective"
Is it me or does that not make any sense?
Why use less effective tactics if they don't work as well?
Well, the more you dig into the report you realise that it's mainly an issue of budgets being squeezed and marketers trying to get more from less.
And, on top of that, it's these low-cost digital channels that are seeing the greatest increase in spend.
According to the report, the most widely used digital tactics are company websites (95.4%, which makes me wonder who are the 4.6% of B2B companies that don't have a website) and email marketing (87.7%).
Social networks and blogging continue to see increases in budget spend but also continue to rank lowly in terms of effectiveness for lead generation (they rank higher for "brand awareness")
So, how do you square those stats?
People are spending more money on marketing tactics that are less effective for lead generation compared with proven tactics that consistently deliver?
Has everyone just lost all business sense or is there a different story under the headline figures.
Crucially, it comes down to budget.
Some of the most effective marketing tactics require a larger investment. Trade shows are not cheap. Running a high-touch telemarketing campaign over several months also requires considerable investment.
Sending out 1000 emails however is very low cost. Whether it delivers the number and quality of leads needed to keep your pipeline full is a different story.
Looking at budget size the survey shows that smaller companies have smaller budgets (duh?) and that companies that only sell B2B with a direct sales model (ie: their own salespeople rather than through resellers and channel partners) have the smallest budgets of all.
Even more of a reason not to waste money on in-effective tactics, I say.
Which is why we always work with clients on fee models that are part fixed and part paid on delivering results. For our fixed fees we do things including telemarketing, email marketing, event/trade-show support, etc (basically stuff that we know "works") and then we link the balance of our fees to results, such as a % of revenue generated.
It's a model that works for our clients and, we believe, ensures that we don't waste our time (or your money) doing stuff that isn't linked to tangible revenue growth.