You Have No Metrics for B2B Social Media Measurement? (Survey Sneak Peek)

Here is another interesting result from the B2B social media survey. I was surprised to learn that a plurality of B2B marketers (45%) say they don't have ANY metrics in place for measuring social media effectiveness. None. Something tells me that B2B marketers will get away with this only for a short time until investment in social media comes under increased scrutiny.

Take a look the chart below to see the popularity of various social media metrics for measuring activity, followership, engagement, leads, and sales results (click chart to enlarge | n = 210).

Resources to learn more about social media metrics
Take the social media survey now and receive the complete survey report before it is officially published. Feel free to share the survey link with your B2B marketing colleagues and friends:

What B2B Marketing Tactics Are Up, Down, Flat? (Survey Sneak Peek)

Last week, we talked about the changing B2B marketing mix ("Is Traditional B2B Marketing Dead?" which caused a heated debate about whether these changes are real and consequential). Let's take a look at some data. We are currently conducting a social media survey among B2B marketing professionals, and one of the questions is aimed at better understanding what activities marketing teams are doing more or less of than 3 years ago. Here are the preliminary results for this question (click chart to enlarge | n = 176).

Marketing tactics that are trending up
The biggest increase in marketing activity over the last 3 years is reported for social media where 81% of respondents say that they are doing more of it (not surprising considering social media use in B2B was still nascent 3 years ago). The next big jump is in content creation - 68% of respondents have increased this tactic in their marketing mix.

This supports the observation that companies are increasingly using content marketing to influence and guide prospects through the buying cycle. Website activity is also up, with 56% of people using it more aggressively than 3 years ago. Email marketing is slightly up - likely a reflection of the increasing adoption of marketing automation platforms that heavily rely on email to communicate targeted, customized, and behavior driven messages.

Marketing tactics that are trending down
Now let's look at the activities that are down over the last 3 years. A usual suspect, direct mailings, is used less by 55% of the people who responded to the survey. Not surprising considering the often low response rates and difficulties tracking conversions, in addition to the comparatively higher cost of direct mail. Same with print advertising, which is used less by 62% of respondents.

Marketing tactics that are flat
A couple of tactics have maintained their share in the marketing mix over the years. Events and Webinars, for example, are still executed at about the same level as 3 years ago by 50% of the marketers polled in the survey (although Webinars are trending up, and so is online advertising with 42% of respondents keeping it a about the same level and 37 percent increasing investment compared to three years ago).

Want to read the survey report?
If you are interested in receiving the survey report, please contribute to the survey.

Please feel free to share the link with your B2B marketing colleagues and friends - here is the link to forward:

Is the In-House B2B Marketing Department Going Away?

My last post triggered a heated debate (mostly in the LinkedIn B2B Technology Marketing Community) about the dramatic changes we see in the B2B marketing function. One of the interesting topics that came up was outsourcing. As you know, more and more corporate functions are moving to a service and subscription based model where companies aggressively outsource everything that is not core to the business in order to gain advantages related to cost, scalability, and agility. This trend is nothing new, it has been building for a long time and many corporate functions like manufacturing have been outsourcing for decades. It seems as if the marketing function has only recently caught on to this trend in a major way, though.

Is marketing moving to a subscription based model?
We sure see this trend in the marketing automation platforms we use on a daily basis – webcasts, email campaigns, lead management, and many more. Many applications and services are not residing in-house on some server in the datacenter but are instead delivered in the cloud, provided as Software as a Service. This not only reduces fixed cost and enables pay as you go models; it also helps marketing to get the job done more quickly, without having to rely on the IT department (which in too many companies is becoming a bottleneck instead of a business enabler – which is further accelerating the push towards SaaS). The next phase I see is that SaaS vendors are partnering to provide end-to-end solutions that span multiple platforms so you can basically run all of your marketing automation in the cloud through a single interface ( is leading the way here with a myriad of 3rd party apps linked into the ecosystem that expand the value chain step by step).

Outsourcing marketing talent
Do we see the same trend developing for outsourcing of talent? Sure, marketing departments have always outsourced campaigns, creative services, and projects to ad/PR/creative agencies. But it seems to me - observing what is going on in many companies and talking to a lot of people in the B2B marketing space - that the marketing outsourcing trend has dramatically accelerated over the last 12 months. Talent outsourcing is also moving up the value chain to projects that have traditionally remained in house.

What do you see happening?
Do you see the same trends? Is B2B marketing moving to a virtual model where a company only has a minimum core staff of true marketing experts that define strategy and programs, and then orchestrate a complex array of vendors, freelancers, and platforms to deliver on marketing goals? Is the future for the majority of marketing professionals a freelance model of working for dozens of clients at the same time? What is the barrier where the required level of domain expertise and coordination cost are outweighing the incremental savings and flexibility benefits?

Is the classic marketing department dead? Looking forward to your thoughts and observations on the topic.

Is Traditional B2B Marketing Dead?

Earlier this week, I was on a panel at the WIT event "The Intersection of Marketing & Technology" in McLean, VA. One of the discussions was about the dramatic changes happening in B2B marketing today and what the future will hold. The question "Is traditional B2B marketing dead?" ignited a lively discussion.

I think we are experiencing nothing short of a major disruption in marketing today. New technologies and marketing automation are just one expression and a driver of this change, but it goes much deeper, affecting the way we organize marketing, engage with customers, find new business opportunities, and deliver value to the stakeholders inside and outside our organizations.

It is easy to not see the forest for the trees when you are focused on the daily challenges of program execution. So let's take a step back and look at the big picture. I put together an overview of the key dimensions of B2B marketing that I see changing (see below, click image to enlarge). Every dimension (including balance of power, audience focus and presence) has significant implications on the way we plan, organize, and execute B2B marketing going forward. And before you say "wait a minute", of course this isn't a binary, all or nothing switch from one model to the next. Instead we are seeing a classic adoption pattern with early adopters and laggards, false starts, and a mix of "traditional" best practices that are still applicable combined with new methods. What are your observations on the changes in B2B marketing? Please share your thoughts using the comments section below.

Is B2B Marketing Ready for Social Media? Take the Survey to Find Out...

B2B marketing is undergoing dramatic change. Traditional marketing tactics are losing effectiveness, and new tactics such as social media are still perceived as unproven. And while social media is a success story in consumer markets, adoption in B2B markets is still lagging.

The LinkedIn B2B Technology Marketing Community is conducting a comprehensive, vendor neutral survey of B2B marketing executives and professionals to better understand the state of social media in the evolving B2B marketing mix. The survey will answer questions about the latest social media trends in B2B marketing, what challenges managers face, what platforms and tools are considered effective, how companies measure success, and more.

The survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete. If you would like to receive a summary of the survey results to find out what your peers are doing with social media, please make sure to provide your name and email address at the end of the survey.

Follow this link to get started:

Also, please feel free to forward the survey link to your marketing colleagues and friends (or just use the re-tweet button at the top of this post).