The State of B2B & B2C Marketing research findings provide insights into:
- Customer experience continues to reshape the marketer’s mindset
- Shifting priorities are sparking organizational changes
- Technology, particularly AI, is raising the bar for efficiency and personalization
State of B2B & B2C Marketing – 4 Key Takeaways
State of B2B & B2C Marketing – Marketers Move to Evolve Journeys, but Data Woes Linger
On the path to delivering connected customer experiences, marketers continue to wrestle with gaining a single view of the customer and leveraging data from different sources. The difficulty of gaining this single customer view is compounded by elevated customer expectations and the tremendous growth of newer marketing channels. While high-performing teams are better at coordinating marketing across channels, a majority fail to evolve their message from one channel to the next.
State of B2B & B2C Marketing – Shifting Priorities Spark Organizational Change
With the rising flood of available customer data, companies are rethinking everything from job roles to how marketing functions in the broader organization. From Account Based Marketing (ABM) to closer alignment with customer service, top marketers are change agents staying ahead of the curve.
State of B2B & B2C Marketing – Marketing Tech Makes Waves
Marketers expect that usage of marketing technologies — from IoT/connected devices to lead scoring tools — will skyrocket over the next two years. High-performers tend to be heavier tech users, with most reporting that their current tech stack aids collaboration, increases productivity, and drives a more cohesive view of customer data. Top teams also cite data management platforms as the most essential tool for 1-to-1 marketing across every touchpoint
State of B2B & B2C Marketing – Marketing Embraces the AI Revolution
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the leading technology where marketers expect the most growth in the next two years. Internally, marketers view AI as a means of creating more efficiency in their operations. For customers, most marketers see it as a way to get more from their data and ramp up personalization without burdening their teams.
State of B2B & B2C Marketing – Customer Experience & Customer Expectations
But beyond focusing on customer experience, marketing leaders are now battling over it. Customer experience is central to their go-to-market strategy, in how they aim to win new customers, and in how they’re keeping current customers happy.
- 68%of marketing leaders say their company is increasingly competing on the basis of customer experience.
- 64% of marketing leaders say their company has become more focused on providing a consistent experience across every channel as a result of changing customer expectations.
- 52% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t personalize communications to them
- 65% of business buyers are likely to switch brands if a vendor doesn’t personalize communications to their company
State of B2B & B2C Marketing – Emerging Channels and Email Show High Growth
While video advertising tops both growth charts, B2C teams pump up their email efforts and B2B teams double down on mobile and advertising on new platforms.
Over the past two years, we’ve seen an explosion in the use of newer channels like video advertising, SMS, mobile apps, and native advertising / sponsored content. The percentage of both B2B and B2C marketers using video advertising, for example, has risen by triple digits over the last two years.
Despite its well-established presence in the B2C marketer’s toolbox, email is still growing at a significant rate. Email’s number two spot indicates that marketers may be testing new channels in conjunction with proven ones to find combinations that work for their consumers
State of B2B Marketing – Channel Growth 2015–2017
- 204% for Video Advertising
- 197% for SMS/text messaging
- 161% Mobile apps
- 147% for Native advertising/sponsored content
- 130% for Advertising on social platforms
State of B2C Marketing – Channel Growth 2015–2017
- 141% for Video advertising
- 106% for Email marketing
- 103% for Mobile apps
- 92% SMS/text messaging
- 81% for Native advertising/81% for sponsored content
State of B2B & B2C Marketing – GTM Messaging
Most marketers broadcast identical messages across channels.
Unfortunately most markets do not create messaging for each persona and messaging is identical across channels. Most marketers say about 50% of their campaign messages are identical broadcasts for all channels.
Coordinating marketing across channels is easier said than done. The gold standard for a customer journey is that each subsequent message builds on the customer’s actions to evolve communications in a true 1-to-1 experience. But the reality is marketers say only about a quarter of their messages evolve from channel to channel in this highly personalized way.
Just over 50% of B2B and B2C marketers communicate that their campaign messages are identical for all channels. This approach is akin to the early days of email marketing, when a “spray and pray” mindset was the norm. But with customer expectations for personalization on the rise, static messages can give the impression that a company doesn’t see customers as individuals.
Percentage of B2B & B2C Marketers That Orchestrate Messaging, Channel & Behavior
- Social media marketing 33%
- Website 31%
- Advertising on social platforms 30%
- Email 29%
- Customer communities 29%
- Video advertising 28%
- Mobile marketing 27%
- Paid search 27%
- Display/banner ads 25%
- Native advertising/sponsored content 25%
- Organic search 25%
Percentage of B2B & B2C Marketers That Broadcast the Same Message, Regardless of Channel & Behavior
- Social media marketing 48%
- Website 50%
- Advertising on social platforms 51%
- Email 51%
- Customer communities 49%
- Video advertising 53%
- Mobile marketing 51%
- Paid search 51%
- Display/banner ads 54%
- Native advertising/sponsored content 54%
- Organic search 53%
State of B2B & B2C Marketing – Customer Journey’s
High-performing marketers overwhelmingly agree that a connected customer journey across all touchpoints and channels is a boon to business, lifting everything from loyalty levels to revenue.
Most marketers haven’t cracked the code on creating ideal customer journeys — but not for lack of trying. 67% of marketing leaders say creating a connected customer journey across all touchpoints and channels is critical to the success of their overall marketing strategy.
While the term has been in use by B2C marketer’s for decades, it’s now top of mind with B2B marketers — and with good reason. The positive benefits associated with customer journey efforts speak for themselves.
- A staggering 91% of high performers agree that a connected customer journey across all touchpoints and channels positively impacts customer loyalty.
- Another 89% say the same for the impact on revenue growth.
- But overall, only 23% of marketers are extremely satisfied with their ability to leverage customer data to create more relevant experiences. To understand how marketers expect personalization capabilities to evolve over the next few years.
Percentage of High Performing Marketing Leaders Who Strongly Agree or Agree That a Connected Customer Journey Positively Impacts the Following
- Customer loyalty 91%
- Revenue growth 89%
- Customer engagement 91%
- Customers’ willingness to recommend products and services 91%
- Customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores 88%
- Customer churn rates 88%
Percentage of Moderate Performing Marketing Leaders Who Strongly Agree or Agree That a Connected Customer Journey Positively Impacts the Following
- Customer loyalty 71%
- Revenue growth 71%
- Customer engagement 70%
- Customers’ willingness to recommend products and services 70%
- Customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores 68%
- Customer churn rates 65%
Percentage of Under Performing Marketing Leaders Who Strongly Agree or Agree That a Connected Customer Journey Positively Impacts the Following
- Customer loyalty 43%
- Revenue growth 42%
- Customer engagement 43%
- Customers’ willingness to recommend products and services 42%
- Customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores 41%
- Customer churn rates 33%
The State of B2B & B2C Marketing research findings were provided by Salesforce who surveyed marketing leaders worldwide. The results are based on data from a blind survey conducted in April 2017 that generated 3,500 responses from full-time marketing leaders — those holding a manager or higher leadership role within their organization — in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, U.K./Ireland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, and Australia/New Zealand.