The starting point for our latest research was a conversation with a commercial director of a major supplier of valves and other equipment to industry.
As the conversation turned to PR support for a new product launch he came out with the quote I’ve been using ever since to convince clients, and potential clients, of the need to integrate PR into their wider marketing activities, pull people into them and provide real measurability.
“Our marketing has to change,” he said. “We’re just chucking stuff out there, direct mail, adverts, PR, catalogues, and hoping something sticks.”
This was by no means a criticism of his marketing director. Both realised, as do a lot of B2B marketers, that the web was going to force them to change their marketing strategies.
Essentially both were asking themselves the same questions that many are asking. “How can I get real measurability to prove marketing’s worth?” “Is our marketing selling the value-add message, such as technical support, advice and consultancy, not just product?” “Is there a better, more cost-effective and measurable way to fill the sales funnel?” “Can social media enable us to engage with potential customers more directly?”
The truth of the matter is that many B2B marketers are on a journey. Moving away from “just chucking stuff out there” towards more inbound and content-based marketing, which empathises with the customer not just sells to them.
We wanted to find out where B2B marketers are on that journey. The results of our research suggest that B2B marketers, far from being conservative and “stuck in their ways” are taking a very strategic approach, evaluating and measuring not just jumping in with both feet. By way of evidence 46% of respondents regard their current social media stance as “cautious, still considering.”
Yes, there are obstacles in the way, not least the fact that many B2B marketers do not regard their company websites as being in a fit state to drive traffic towards, but these obstacles are not regarded as being insurmountable.
Perhaps the most telling statistic is this: 91% of respondents say their use of social media will increase in the next five years.