According to a new study report by DemandGen, the core goal of driving growth remains unchanged and fundamental to performance marketing executives. For those marketers directly charged with influencing pipeline, expectations are only increasing as revenue projections become more aggressive and KPIs become more laser focused.
Top B2B Demand Generation Priorities in 2018
Focusing on lead quality vs. lead quantity
Improving conversion rates/campaign results
Generating increased lead volume
Improving ability to measure and analyze marketing impact
Improving sales-marketing alignment
Expanding content library to drive campaigns
Improving depth and accuracy of database
Source: Demand Gen Report/Content4Demand, February 2018
The good news from the 2018 Demand Generation Benchmark Survey is budgets for acquisition, nurturing, and pipeline activities will continue to climb this year, with 70% saying demand gen budgets would increase, and 34% saying spending would grow by more than 20%.
Demand Generation Budget Change In 2018
Increase by more than 30%
Increase by more than 20%
Increase by 1%-10%
Decrease by 1%-10%
Decrease by more than 20%
Decrease by more than 30%
Source: 2018DemandGen Benchmark Survey, February 2018
The expectations for supporting revenue growth are climbing at a more aggressive rate, and the goals and metrics companies are using to judge marketing’s impact are also rising rapidly.
28% Of Respondents Said Their Marketing Orgs Have Specific Revenue-Based Quotas. Specific findings from the Demand Gen Report survey that illustrate the challenging expectations revenue-focused marketers will face in 2018 include:
To respond to these more aggressive goals, as well as keep pace with changing buyer behavior, the study found marketers will be relying more heavily on cross- channel strategies for acquisition, engagement and conversion.
The report breaks down the findings of this year’s survey with specific analysis of:
63%of respondents said their company's revenue will grow by more than 20% in 2018. The expectations around marketing’s contribution to revenue continued to climb with this year’s survey. When asked what percentage of revenue would be attributed to marketing-sourced leads:
The increased pressure to drive growth and attributable revenue has been a consistent challenge for marketers in recent years, and this year’s survey showed there are no signs of that abating.
30% said pipeline influenced was their top metric to measure performance, while 11% said accounts engaged was their main metric. In addition to a growing number of marketers indicating they now have revenue- based performance quotas, account-specific quotas are also emerging as a top KPI for marketing teams, with 27% of respondents saying they now set account, lead and revenue-based quotas.
The focus on account-based tracking was also evident in looking at the primary metric marketers said they are measured against. While the traditional KPI of MQLs was the top response for 33% of respondents, 30% indicted pipeline influenced was the top metric, 14% said total leads/inquiries, and 11% indicated accounts engaged was the main metric.
68% said in-person events continue to rank as the top engagement tactic. The increased expectation to drive demand is nearly universal among B2B marketers, but the approach to realizing attributable revenue is changing rapidly.
According to the survey of 160 marketers, the top demand generation priorities for 2018 are:
In terms of top-of-funnel acquisition strategies, in-person events and webinars continued to rank as the top engagement tactics (selected by 68% and 61% of respondents, respectively). While some of the tried-and-true formats such as white papers and case studies (both 50%) continued to rank high as engagement tactics, emerging sources such as videos (37%) and content syndication (25%) also ranked high on the list.
50%said search was a go-to channel for driving leads. The survey also showed marketers are continuing to rely on multiple channels to drive leads for their pipeline. While email was still the go-to channel for 67% of marketers, search grew by almost 10% from last year (moving from 41% to 50%), and online ads climbed 5% (moving from 16% to 21%).
The importance of cross-channel marketing was also validated when marketers were asked which channels were most effective in terms of early-stage engagement, with search increasing 6% YOY to 56%, social climbing 4% YOY to 44%, and online ads moving 6% YOY to 27%.
When it came to tactics that helped drive conversions in later stages of the funnel, search actually dipped as a tactic (dropping from 26% last year to 18% this year), while retargeting increased 6% (from 21% last year to 27% this year), direct mail climbed 7% (from 13% to 20% this year) and telemarketing posted a big jump (from 32% to 45% this year).
38% of respondents said they are actively reviewing their database for accuracy. Specific to their ability to track campaign attribution and influence, 53% said they are already measuring this, while 36% indicated they are planning to add the ability to measure this within the next 12 months.
Data and insights also proved to be a growing need and priority for performance marketers, with only 10% responding that their database is current and provides coverage of key segments. 31%)admitted their database has many contacts that are incomplete or inaccurate, 38% said they are actively reviewing their database, and 18% categorize their database as inadequate to cover target markets.
The 2018 Demand Generation Benchmark Survey was conducted in November and December of 2017 and polled 160 marketing executives. The sample was predominantly from North America (87%), with respondents from EMEA (8%) and APAC (5%) also represented. The respondents came from a variety of industries, with software/tech representing the largest share (51%), followed by business services (24%), financial services (6%), manufacturing (4%) and others including health care, telecom and retail.
For the complete DemandGen Benchmark Survey, please visit here.