Email marketing remains the tactic most used by B2B brands. But it is far down the list in marketing spend, according to 2021 B2B Marketing Mix Report, a study by Sagefrog Marketing Group.
The news comes as COVID-19 is driving a massive switch to digital by both brands and customers. And it coincides with marketing grabbing a higher percentage of the average company budget, the study notes.
Email usage remains as the same high level as it was in 2019 and 2018:
Despite its high usage, email fell by nine percentage points as a top area of marketing spend, while branding leaped by an almost identical percentage.
In addition, marketing and sales collateral saw a 15% increase, while trade shows and events plummeted by 25%, most likely because of lockdowns and the need for social distancing:
Email is rated as a top source of sales and marketing leads by 38%, a distant second to referrals, at 65%. These numbers are similar to last year’s. Third is search engine optimization, tied with social media with 33% apiece.
In general, marketing has gained a higher percentage of budgets across the board:
Last year, 15% allocated 20% of their total budgets to marketing, 19% budgeted 10% and 25% budgeted 5%.
Of the companies polled, 76% have a formal marketing plan, up from 64% last year. And 56% use a combination of in-house and outsourced resources, while 38% do their marketing in-house.
Among marketing approaches, account-based marketing (ABM) has jumped to the top spot, supplanting personalization, which fell dramatically from 47% last year:
The preferred marketing automation platforms include:
Of the firms polled, 62% have seen ROI from paid social, while 33% haven’t used it yet and 5% have used it but haven’t achieved ROI.
LinkedIn is rated the most used and engaging channel, followed by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Finally, the top B2B marketing objectives for 2021 are: