By Michelle Etherton, The Partner Marketing Group
Tired of seeing the same old marketing data from 5 years ago? So are we. That’s we’ve put together a list of 26 recent B2B marketing stats and trends you can use to build your own marketing strategy and team.
Our clients in the tech sector are faced with a market that evolves constantly, and you need to know what’s happening right now to stay competitive.
1: B2B tech companies allocate about 15% of overall budget to marketing each year. (Source: Deloitte)
How much of the annual budget does your company devote to marketing? For the average tech company, the number is about 15%. You’ll likely need to match or exceed that— using highly-effective marketing techniques— to stay competitive.
2: 94% of marketers expect to spend the same amount or more next year. (Source: The Partner Marketing Group)
Planning to scale back your marketing budget? You might want to think again, because 94% of your peers are planning to stay the same or expand next year. Competing is tough when you aren’t investing an adequate amount of marketing dollars.
3: 33% of Millennial-age B2B tech buyers need manager approval for purchases of $10,000 or more, compared to 23% of Baby Boomers and 27% of Gen Xers. (Source: CMO)
Here’s something interesting to keep in mind. Today’s B2B tech buyers have less autonomy than previous generations. Budgets are tightly-supervised, and buyers aren’t given the same leeway as their predecessors. Often, they must prove ROI to the higher-ups before making a purchase.
4: On average, 6.8 people are involved in purchasing decisions in the B2B high-tech sector. (Source: HBR)
As a follow-up to the previous stat, it’s rather stunning to see that today’s B2B tech buyers not only need manager approval, but need the input of 6 or so other people too. That means your marketing messages must be shareable and memorable across personas.
5: 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing. (Source: Content Marketing Institute)
This stat doesn’t come as a huge surprise, because content marketing is king in terms of driving B2B traffic. But read on for another stat that puts things in perspective …
6: Just 42% of B2B content marketers say their content marketing program is effective. (Source: Content Marketing Institute)
Now, this is interesting. While 93% of B2B marketers are using content marketing, only 42% feel that they’re good at it. That leaves a massive opportunity for marketers who know how to do it right.
7: The top 5 B2B content marketing tactics are: Social media content (92%), eNewsletters (83%), website articles (81%), blogs (80%), and in-person events (77%). (Source: IMN)
Sure, we expected to see things like social media and blogging on this list, but it’s worth noting that in-person events take the #5 spot. Don’t leave event planning out of your tech marketing plan.
8: Soft skills, such as good communication and people management, are the #1 most important skill sets for newly-hired B2B tech marketers. (Source: MarketingProfs)
Looking to hire someone new for your tech marketing team? Here’s a fact to keep in mind: the #1 ranking for soft skills in the tech marketer’s toolkit. This means you should steer clear of hiring people who are too buried in data analysis to have good interpersonal skills.
9: 87% of B2B buyers give the most credence to industry influencer content, followed by peer reviews and user-generated feedback (68%) and third-party publications (60%). (Source: DemandGen)
Industry influencers are extremely important in B2B buying. Seek them out and incorporate them into your content plan. And don’t forget about peer reviews and user feedback – they also rank quite high, in terms of building trust in B2B transactions.
10: Of all social channels, LinkedIn provides the #1 highest social value for B2B companies. (Source: Forbes)
If your budget is stretched thin this year and you’re forced to make tough decisions, keep your LinkedIn plan running at all costs. It’s the top-performing platform for B2B companies, followed closely by Facebook and Twitter.
11: 85% of B2B buyers have used LinkedIn to share and discuss business content. (Source: DemandGen)
Once again, it’s clear to see the power of LinkedIn for the B2B audience. Buying decisions are being made every day through LinkedIn’s business network.
12: Email remains the #1 channel for sharing business content. (Source: DemandGen)
Despite years of warnings that email marketing is dying, email has kept the top spot for sharing business information. It’s simply more popular among the B2B audience than it is in general – which experts attribute to its archival quality. When people need to reference info later, an email is still sitting there, waiting helpfully.
13: B2B buyers do an average of 12 internet searches before settling on a certain brand. (Source: Google)
Before reaching your site, your buyers have already researched 12 other brands. Let that settle in for a moment. They looked at 12 of your competitors before you. What does that mean for your marketing efforts?
14: B2B customers make it 70% of the way through the buying process before talking to a sales rep. (Source: Forbes)
That’s right, B2B buyers mostly have their minds made up before they ever interact with your company. This fact should inform how you manage customer service and the customer journey – that is, by assuming your customers are already 70% of the way through it.
15: Effective earned media placements see conversion rates of 5% or higher, while paid placements hover around 1% for the B2B audience. (Source: AdAge)
Two issues come along with this stat: trust and efficacy. When earned media placements are highly trusted and effective, that magic 5% conversion rate is within reach.
16: 75% of B2B customers ultimately select vendors based on content offers. (Source: DemandGen)
When researchers asked 283 B2B industry leaders what made their minds up about selecting a vendor, 75% of them said the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on their decision.
17: Among content types, webinars are getting the best results for tech companies (49%), followed closely by blogs (48%) (Source: The Partner Marketing Group)
The 2018 Technology Marketing Benchmarks and Trends Report shows that webinars and blog posts are definitely worth your marketing dollars, since 49% and 48% of companies, respectively, name those as their content types producing the best results. eBooks, whitepapers, video, and case studies are performing well, but can’t quite touch the high-level results of webinars and blogs.
18: 59% of B2B buyers work in formal committees or groups to make purchasing decisions. (Source: DemandGen)
Gone are the days when you could think of your decision-makers as individuals. B2B buyers now work in collaborative groups to select new products and services. A diverse approach to your messaging is critical.
19: 94% of your audience doesn’t want to fill out a lead gen form. (Source: Forbes)
Research shows that B2B buyers are tired of filling out forms before they get access to any of your content. If you put content behind a form, you better make sure it is HIGHLY valuable.
20: Lead generation tops the priority list for tech and software marketers. It’s the #1 priority for 55% of them, followed distantly by customer engagement (12%) and brand awareness (8%). (Source: The Partner Marketing Group)
Things like branding, engagement, loyalty, and website traffic are important, but they pale in comparison to lead generation. It’s far and away the top marketing priority for tech and software companies looking ahead to the coming year.
21: 93% of B2B consumers wish companies would educate, rather than sell to them. (Source: Forbes)
B2B buyers tend to be more informed than the average consumer and have already spent time researching purchases. They prefer buying from companies that educate and inform them, instead of making salesy pitches.
22: The most important two words in B2B headlines are “How To.” (Source: Buzzsumo)
Because B2B buyers prefer to be educated than sold to, they are most open to content that teaches them “how to” something – so put it right in the headline.
23: “The Future” is very important to B2B buyers, especially those on LinkedIn. (Source Buzzsumo)
Buzzsumo studied 10 million LinkedIn articles and found that the ones that made predictions about the future were most popular among the B2B audience.
24: 86% of B2B buyers frequently see purchases put on hold due to changing business needs. (Source: DemandGen)
While this statistic isn’t surprising, it’s still frustrating. The vast majority of buying decisions are halted before they’re completed, due to individual circumstances you might never really understand. But it makes follow-up a critical part of your marketing plan.
25: 44% of a company’s market value can be attributed to its CEO’s reputation. (Source: Forbes)
How is your CEO’s reputation within the B2B audience? This is a major contributor to your entire company’s overall market value.
26: Every day, B2B buyers in the U.S. are presented with an additional 63GB of new media to absorb. (Source: Buzzsumo)
If your audience could be summed up in one word, it would be: overwhelmed. They deal with a massive amount of new information every day. Your marketing goal: cut through the clutter.
Want more helpful B2B tech marketing stats like these?
Download our 2018 Technology Marketing Benchmarks & Trends Report!
What stat surprised you the most? Comment and let us know!