Eighty-four percent of B2B marketers plan to increase or maintain their spending this year, according to a new report from Salesforce.
The report, "2015 State of B2B Marketing," which polled more than 2,100 B2B marketers, found that 34 percent of respondents plan to shift spend from traditional mass advertising to advertising on digital channels.
The main beneficiaries of that increased spending include content marketing with 66 percent of respondents saying they will increase spending on the channel, followed by marketing automation (66 percent), mobile apps (65 percent), location-based mobile tracking (65 percent), social media advertising (64 percent) and social media marketing (64 percent).
"Increasing spend on mobile and social may show that B2B companies are trying to get up to speed with their B2C counterparts in terms of building out communication strategies in relatively new channels," the report said. "Mobile is reported as a critical enabler of B2B products and services by 60 percent of B2B marketers using the channel; for social, that percentage dips only slightly to 55 percent."
However, the report also revealed the continuing importance of old-school channels, in particular email. According to the study, 73 percent of B2B marketers believe email marketing is core to their business with 59 percent saying email is a critical enabler of products and services.
"Whereas more B2C marketers are using social channels to connect with their customers, more B2B marketers use traditional digital channels like email," the report said.
It's no wonder that B2B marketers still rely on email since 91 percent of respondents report that email marketing is still a good investment—20 percent said it produces significant ROI, 30 percent said it produces some ROI, 20 percent said it will eventually produce ROI and 21 percent said it indirectly produces ROI.
Even B2B marketers that prioritize mobile still recognize the value of email. Among B2B marketers using mobile channels, 53 percent have integrated mobile marketing into their overall strategy, which means they've incorporated either SMS, push notifications, mobile apps or location-based functionality.
In addition, overall, 67 percent of B2B marketers said they view responsive design and device friendliness as absolutely critical or very important to building email-marketing campaigns.
Not all the news is good on this front, though. The study also found, surprisingly considering the rise of mobile, that more than a quarter (27 percent) of B2B marketers said they don't know if subscribers are reading their emails on mobile devices.
"As with any area of business, if you don't know the problem, you can't deliver a solution," the report said. "By tracking mobile opens, marketers can begin to understand each customer's preferences and habits, and also identify where metrics like click-through rate might be suffering due to a lack of device optimization."
-See this Salesforce study
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