Buoyant B2B: Firms Stress Marketing As They Enhance Their Brands

Email is a close second to social media among the tools being used by B2B companies, according to Breaking Down The Role Of The B2B Sales & Marketing Executive, a study by Delia.

Of the B2B executives polled, 59% say their firms are active in social, 55% in email, 54% in content marketing and 52% in video marketing. 

Further down the list are public relations (43%), SEO (43%), trade shows (40%), trade advertising (38%), direct mail (37%) and cold-calling (33%).  

These activities support the following marketing imperatives: 

  • Communicate benefits of products & services — 23% 
  • Generate leads — 21%
  • Increase customers — 17%
  • Influence prospect’s opinion of company — 16% 
  • Create loyal customers — 16%
  • Reaffirm that customer made the right decision — 7% 



But this list of priorities differs slightly from that of the metrics being used to determine success:

  • Number of sales leads (inquiries) — 63% 
  • Return on investment — 54% 
  • Positive online reviews — 52% 
  • Clicks — 44%
  • Likes or followers — 44% 
  • Listed on top of the page when searched — 36%
  • Star (customer) ratings — 32%  

All this is taking place during a period of apparent brand volatility. Of the firms represented here, 57% updated their brand in 2020 or 2021, versus 43% prior to that.

Here’s when B2B create or revise their marketing budgets: 

  • Once a year and willing to revise during year as market demands — 32% 
  • Once every couple of years — 25% 
  • Once a year and we do not review until the next year — 21%
  • Twice a year — 20% 
  • Not at all — 2%
  • Do not have a strategic marketing plan — 1%

Marketing is the top skill needed by B2B sales & marketing executives—47% of the respondents say so. Sales is next, with 38%, followed by leadership (34%) and branding (14%). 

Marketing also gets more of the total budget at 42%, versus 33% for sales and 26% for branding. 

Despite branding’s low budget portion, 90% add that brand is of high or very high importance in sales. And they rate brand and marketing as equally important contributors, by a score of 50-50.

Overall, 39% of employees do not understand their companies’ brands.  

Who owns brand within organizations? Brand communications is headed by the sales & marketing leader in 59%, and by the CEO in 26%. And 13% cite another executive.  

Brand promise is led by sales & marketing executives at 52%, by the CEO in 40% and by another executive in 6%. 

In addition, sales & marketing execs run brand identity at 55%, and the CEO at 31%.   

The big shots tend to come from outside — 83% have spent eight years as head of sales & marketing, and have been at their firms for the same amount of time.  

In contrast, 17% have spent 12 years at their companies, and are the owner or founder, or another senior-level person. But some worked their way up from intern or sales rep positions. 

Delia surveyed marketing executives during April 2021. 

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