B2B International (a Merkle B2B company) recently published the results of its 2021 B2B Marketing Monitor study (the "2021 Monitor"). The 2021 Monitor was based on a survey of 301 marketing, insight, customer experience and business strategy decision makers at B2B organizations. Respondents were drawn from North America (36%), Europe (40%) and APAC (24%). The survey was fielded in the first quarter of this year.
The 2021 Monitor primarily reflects the views of marketers and other business decision makers at large enterprises. The average annual revenue of the companies represented in the survey was $2.9 billion, and about 20% of the companies had annual revenue of over $15 billion. Respondents were affiliated with organizations operating in several industry verticals.
B2B International found that survey participants were optimistic about the future of their business, their industry and their country in the first quarter of 2021. Seventy-five percent of the survey respondents said they were optimistic about the business outlook for their organization, 69% said they were optimistic about the economic outlook for their industry and 53% said they were optimistic about the economic outlook within their country or region.
These results echo the findings of the February 2021 edition of The CMO Survey. In that survey of 356 senior marketers at U.S. based companies, the respondents rated their optimism about the overall U.S. economy at 66.3 (0 = least optimistic, 100 = most optimistic). That surpassed the rating of 62.7 in the February 2020 edition of the survey, which was the last survey conducted before the onset of the pandemic.
Major Challenges in 2021
B2B International asked survey participants about what challenges they are facing and which of those challenges they are prioritizing to address this year. Respondents identified a group of four widespread, top priority challenges.
- Building/strengthening customer relationships in a digital world
- Connecting with customers on an emotional level to drive higher brand engagement
- Delivering an excellent CX throughout the entire customer lifecycle
- Leveraging data to inform more efficient and optimized marketing programs