March 28, 2012 – - WESTBOROUGH, MA — Wakefly, a leading online marketing firm, recently surveyed several hundred B2B marketers to identify the web marketing tactics that would be their focus in 2012. According to Jeff Demers, Wakefly’s Director of Online Marketing and the survey administrator, “The most striking part of this survey is that interest is growing in Marketing Automation solutions at a rapid rate – in previous years surveys, B2B marketers indicated that they allocated less than 3% of their overall online marketing budget (2011 survey) to such solutions, now that number is greater than 10%.” (See Fig. 1)
Overall, 61% of B2B Marketers surveyed were planning budget increases in 2012 while 31% planned to spend the same in 2012 as in 2011. Just 8% experienced shrinking budgets in 2012. Also of interest, only 30% of marketers reported that they had integrated online systems with their CRM to provide “Closed Loop” intelligence on the performance of their marketing efforts.
In addition, interest in website redesign projects as a percentage of total online marketing budget grew from 15% of total budget to nearly 25%. The reason for these redesigns remained fairly constant from year to year – except for this year, as a staggering 72% were interested in improving user experience as the primary desired outcome of any web project. According to Tim Hawkins, Wakefly’s Director of Design and Usability, “This isn’t surprising – the web design market is moving in two directions, down channel for the budget conscious that want to quickly and easily build websites and up channel for the savvy marketers that are mapping personas, delivering dynamic messaging and employing usability experts to ensure high performance web assets.”
Other significant growth was seen in marketing allocations for PPC search and landing page design, together comprising another 30% of B2B marketing allocations for 2012. Showing no growth in allocations over 2011 were social media marketing and email marketing. According to Dean Dorazio, Wakefly’s CEO, “We were surprised to see email marketing flat line – long considered the holy grail of web marketing – but, survey respondents indicated they are getting even more defensive with access to their inbox.”
Losing traction was search engine optimization (SEO). Down in allocation to less than 10% of online budgets since the survey’s inception, SEO as a B2B tactic may have its high water mark in 2011. According to Demers, “many indicated frustration with Google continually moving the goal line to get top visibility and combined with the tremendous resources required to pursue enterprise SEO – it’s really no surprise. SEO will remain in the toolkit for many savvy marketers but the time to results may be increasing.” This possibility was strengthened by 46% of marketers expressing interest in learning how to track actual SEO results. “The fact that SEO budgets are shrinking in both real size and allocation and marketers wish to understand how to actually gauge results is a major indicator that for many over-taxed B2B marketers SEO may still be more of a questionable activity that a definitive business asset at this point.”
Upon review of these survey results, you might be wondering what these results can mean for your business and how you can benefit from them? Essentially, these survey results enforce the fact that businesses are focusing more on allocating their marketing budgets to specific marketing activities that will use their budgets most effectively and efficiently from a time and cost standpoint. Although this has always been a goal of businesses, what differs is that businesses are beginning to take more ownership and control of their marketing activities, a task now possible through marketing automation that wasn’t so through more traditional marketing means. CloudTimes.org describes marketing automation as a service that, “…provides better control of the organization, with the use of a CRM system, the marketing team can track and communicate with prospects and customers, appropriately keeping them in the sales cycle, and successfully addressing their issues and concerns.” Companies do not have to heavily rely on marketing agencies to update them on how their marketing efforts are turning them a profit. Once a marketing agency sets them up with a marketing automation tool such as Pardot and provides them with training on how to use the system, companies can take ownership of their marketing activities from there. Taking this approach can ultimately save businesses invaluable time and money.
Fig. 1 – Overall Marketing Automations
|Activity||2011 Allocation||2012 Allocation|
Fig. 2 – Web Redesign – Desired Outcomes
|Outcome||Interest (Select Many)|
|Improve User Experience||72%|
|Improve Brand Image||64%|
|Increase Lead Flow||62%|
|Easier to Use Back-end||20%|