Sunday, March 1, 2015

Where B2B and B2C Marketers Agree and Disagree recently published the results of its 2015 State of Marketing survey. The 2015 survey was conducted online in October and November of 2014 and generated over 5,000 responses. The survey was directed to marketers in "Salesforce Marketing Cloud locations," so the respondents may not be a representative sample of all marketers. Still, the number of responses makes this a significant piece of research.

The survey included a nice balance of B2B and B2C participants. Fifty-six percent of the respondents were from B2C companies, and 44% were affiliated with B2B enterprises. The survey found significant similarities in the viewpoints of B2B and B2C marketers, but the results also revealed a few interesting differences.

Both B2B and B2C participants in the survey were optimistic about marketing budgets for 2015. Eighty-four percent of both B2B and B2C respondents said they plan to increase or maintain their level of marketing spending in 2015.

B2B and B2C marketers differed somewhat in how they viewed their most significant marketing challenges. The table below shows the top three challenges identified by B2B and B2C survey respondents.

B2B and B2C marketers differed more significantly on the issue of where they plan to increase marketing spending. The top five areas for increased spending identified by B2B marketers were:

  1. Content marketing (66% of B2B respondents)
  2. Marketing automation (66%)
  3. Mobile applications (65%)
  4. Location-based mobile tracking (65%)
  5. Social media advertising (64%)
The top five areas for increased spending identified by B2C marketers were:
  1. Social media marketing (74% of B2C respondents)
  2. Social media advertising (74%)
  3. Social media engagement (73%)
  4. Social media listening (68%)
  5. Location-based mobile tracking (68%)
These differences in spending priorities are understandable and not at all surprising. Many B2B companies sell complex products or services, and it can be difficult to communicate the value of these solutions in a social media environment. So, it doesn't surprise me that B2B marketers are more focused on creating content, which almost certainly includes longer-form resources such as videos, white papers, and e-books.

In addition, most of the recent research I've seen indicates that, while the use of social media in the B2B buying process is growing, it is still not a major source of information for most B2B buyers. In the B2C world, however, research indicates that social media plays a more significant role on the customer's path to purchase. So, it's not surprising the B2C marketers are investing more in social media.

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