B-to-B: Digital Remix
B-to-b marketers tinker with online channels, watch social media emerge and fret over fitting it all into a marketing mix dominated by conventional approaches. As the current recession continues through 2009, a company’s marketing mix must produce sales-ready results using less expensive channels. To understand if the current recession will wake up marketers who are asleep at the wheel as they chug along traditional tracks, Forrester Research recently conducted its Q1 2009 B2B Marketing Budgets and Tactics Online Survey with MarketingProfs of 317 B-to-B marketing professionals. We found that marketers are finally embracing digital channels to drive demand and boost brand.
At the top of the marketing tactic popularity list sits the corporate site. That 94 percent of respondents said they consider it a key element in the marketing toolbox is good news because most business buyers—84 percent of those surveyed earlier in 2008—say Web sites help them make purchase decisions.
Our survey showed that e-mail and search marketing have hit the mainstream. With 84 percent of survey respondents using them, e-mail and e-newsletters now equal trade shows in popularity. Search marketing gained 6 percentage points since our previous survey, with 68 percent of marketers using it. This is important because search marketing connects sellers to buyers who actively seek solutions.
Although digital channels are more targetable and measurable than offline media, our survey found that trade shows, public relations, direct mail and print still command center stage in B-to-B marketing programs. These traditional tactics represent familiar territory and—like eating comfort food in stressful times, even though it may not be best for the diet—marketers continue to turn to them, despite effectiveness measures wobbling and, in some cases, plummeting. With executives asking B-to-B marketers to generate the same results with dramatically reduced resources, marketers need to take a fresh, profound look at the marketing mix.