As buyers demand a more convenient purchasing experience, B2B marketers have increased their investment in marketing programs, technology, and analytics to improve the CX and revenue.
Most of the B2B marketing executives this year have increased their spending budgets on technology and marketing programs, and mostly at a faster pace than spending on personnel.
A Forrester research, ‘B2B Budgets Bank on Programs and Tech’ found that 71% of companies are increasing their marketing program budgets, out of which 37% are increasing their program spending by at least 10%. It also found that almost 60% of marketers are spending more on marketing technology, where 26% are increasing their spending by 10% or more.
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The results are based on a 2018 survey of 200 companies with annual revenue of $100 million or more. About their spending plans in 2019, 67% of companies have increased spending on personnel, and only one-tenth have increased spending by 10%.
Among the marketing programs, companies on average allocated the largest share of spending, i.e., 12%, on digital events marketing, followed by direct marketing at 11%. Experts believe that events are crucial to business buyers, and almost half of the B2B technology buyers rely on conference presentations as well as booth materials when making buying decisions. The Forrester research mentions that 45% of buyers take decisions out of the information gained at events.
Other than events, experts believe that B2B marketers still need to focus on marketing through third-party marketing content, channel partners, and paid media advertising in 2019. A Forrester report mentions that engaging more empowered prospects does require a robust digital strategy, since 65% of B2B buyers prefer conducting the actual purchase online, rather than a salesperson.
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Experts have identified marketing technologies offering as something of ‘high business value’ and worthy of investment. These include ABM platforms, customer-engagement marketing; event-management solutions; measurement and analytics, programmatic advertising, and social engagement tools. Companies, especially, must maintain the use of, if not increase investment, in some high-value marketing technologies like content marketing platforms, marketing automation platforms, social listening applications, and the webinar platforms.
Rather than a direct investment in AI-based on research and insights, experts suggest marketers devise a plan and experiment with the available chatbots. Increased investment is also observed in Virtual Reality (VR), Virtual Assistants, And Augmented Reality (AR) applications, which is expected to be a game-changer in the future of marketing tactics. Since these technologies are at a nascent stage for marketing, experts believe that early investors will be able to reap benefits in the long term.
In the report, Forrester notes that an overall B2B marketing goal must be to assist buyers in their increasing desire to receive help in the purchase decisions. B2B marketers in 2019 will have to consider that B2B buying decisions are getting closer to the way B2C buying decisions are made, especially like retail eCommerce.
The evolving behavior of B2B buyers resembles consumers’ preferences in several key ways that is leading the path to the technologies B2B marketing and sales teams use. The planning, execution, and optimizing their engagement while using the technologies, must evolve parallely with the self-directed digital-first buyers.
The modern B2B MarTech stack is becoming highly populated with technologies that reflect this new reality, as well as enable the B2B marketers to create customer-driven systems with insights and engagement.