Changes for B2B Planned Budgets for 2023

By: Kylie Stanley, PR Technician 

As we enter 2023, marketers are wrapping up their budgets for 2023. In 2022, many marketing budgets had been cut or remained flat. In a recent study from Integrate and Demand Metric, they took a look at the broader marketing community positions on budgets and resources for 2023 as companies aim for growth.

In 2023, marketers are being more optimistic about their budgets with 33% saying their budget will be slightly higher than 2022. Still, only 1 in 4 expect their 2023 budgets to be lower than 2022 budgets, which is an improvement from the situation in 2022, when one-third said it was lower than in 2021.

This year, only 1 in 3 respondents say they have more resources overall to work with than they did last year. Despite that, half of respondents say that they are expected to achieve more this year than they did in 2021.

When looking at budgets for the future, companies are looking at what areas of investments they want to commit to and what will be the best bang for their buck.

It’s no surprise that 54% anticipate an increase in budget for content creation, strategy and digital with social media platforms and influencers continuing to rise.

On the other hand, 47% expect an increase in spending on marketing operations/technology, compared to 35% who envision a decrease in spending in this area. The 47% of respondents expect to increase their budget for demand generation.

The area of investment that the largest number of study participants (53%) plan to decrease spending is on account-based marketing (ABM).

Overall, a slim majority (52%) of B2B marketers are optimistic about their marketing team and its performance compared to a year ago, and most (56%) believe it likely that their marketing team will meet or exceed the goals set for it this year.

Over the past few years, several factors such as the pandemic, supply chain and inflation have affected businesses worldwide leading to companies to evaluate their budgets. Although the economy has been impacted, marketers still remain hopeful about 2023. With these impacts, it’s likely that marketers are used to the constant changes and are trying to push past them.

Original post by marketing charts: https://www.marketingcharts.com/business-of-marketing/marketing-budgets-227620

Link to download the full report: https://resources.integrate.com/all-resources/the-state-of-marketing-budgets

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How to Discover Personal and Emotional Drivers for a B2B Audience

by ISURUS, guest blogger

“The best thing about doing this is that I got to have coffee with my Dad in the barn every morning until he passed. Now I have that cup of coffee with my son and will as long as he stays involved.”

This statement paints a clear and vibrant picture of a small business owner’s emotional drivers. It surfaced in a series of qualitative in-depth interviews and encapsulates an emotional theme that ran through the interviews. It speaks to one of this audience’s core values and influences even their most rational decisions. B2B marketers hunger for these types of insights as they look for ways to bring a human element to their messaging and positioning.

The resonance of the theme and its usefulness for developing customer personas and journeys stems from the methodology that uncovered it – qualitative in-depth interviews. B2B marketers and their agency partners often face resistance from internal stakeholders who doubt the value of insights that aren’t expressed as a statistical projection of the market. But in-depth interviews provide the time and format that enable an individual to make the journey from superficial reactions to overly rational answers, and finally to what it means to them personally. As a full disclosure, it’s not always as clear or powerful as connecting with a father who has passed on but relative to surveys, big data and social listening – it gets you closer to the human side of the B2B buyer.

This is not a criticism of surveys, VOC programs, and other more quantitative methodologies. We routinely use those approaches because they provide robust insights needed for branding, market sizing, pricing, and bundling strategies. But when you want to understand the human side of a B2B buyer, qualitative in-depth interviews are one of the best tools in the research tool box.

But having a tool in your tool box isn’t enough. You need to use the tool correctly. The most common mistake B2B marketers make when using qualitative in-depth interviews is to treat it like a survey and create a list of 50 specific questions. You also cannot simply ask, “How does xyz make you feelHow does it connect to you as a person?”.

So, what should you ask? (more…)

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Importance of Digital Marketing in the Construction Industry

by Emma Jones, guest blogger

Discover the sheer value of digital marketing in the construction industry, from leveraging automation to enhancing branding and more.

While digital marketing holds different values for different industries, there are arguably no industries that don’t benefit from it. It’s rightly a staple of the digital age, helping modernize and augment traditional marketing strategies. In many cases, it can also specifically cater to the unique, inherent, or persistent challenges of select sectors or industries. Such is the case for the construction industry in B2B and market-focused B2T settings. To illustrate this, let us explore the demonstrable value of digital marketing in the construction industry.

Construction industry challenges

Given the global pandemic, the construction industry does face immense challenges – as Deloitte notes. Our audiences are likely well aware of them, so here we may briefly outline the three main ones:

  • Supply chain disruptions. In the second half of 2020, supply chain vulnerabilities started appearing. While some stabilization has come, there has been no full recovery to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Sourcing challenges. In turn, supply shortages persist, accompanied by price inflations and delivery delays. In combination, “supply chain disruptions and volatility are expected to be among the biggest challenges in 2022.”
  • Labor shortages. Finally, like other industries, construction struggles with labor shortages and a lack of qualified candidates.

Still, InEight’s Global Capital Projects Outlook finds general, if cautious, optimism among North American capital project and construction professionals:

An infographic on construction professionals’ optimism about their organization’s prospects for growth.

Source: https://www.forconstructionpros.com/business/news/22340234/ineight-study-shows-widespread-construction-optimism-need-for-digitalization#&gid=1&pid=1

Digital transformation does seem to drive much of this optimism, as Construction Dive reports. Most (95%) of surveyed professionals are willing to embrace digital tools and digitization. And yet, despite the intent, the groundwork for it is scarce:

“Despite the hunger for digital transformation, construction lags behind other industries. Only 15% of respondents have implemented a digital transformation strategy, and 38% of respondents said that they haven’t built out a strategy or that it’s not a priority[.]”

Marketing challenges

In this context, digital marketing could unveil new opportunities and reinvigorate the industry. Yet, as we’ve covered before, digital marketing in the construction industry faces distinct challenges of its own. A lack of in-house talent, given little skillset overlap, lagging applications of automation, and other factors are persistently present.

In addition, the industry does not generally lend itself to content marketing to the degree others do. The complexity of its offers, coupled with less exciting visuals to elevate marketing, necessarily hold it back. The scrutiny of B2B decision-makers also leaves little room for emotionally-driven, bombastic marketing, which would perform in B2C settings.

The value of digital marketing in the construction industry

Nonetheless, digital marketing does begin to see considerable use in the construction industry. It can’t directly help overcome hands-on challenges like supply chain disruptions, of course, but it can offer sustainability through operation optimizations, enhanced marketing reach, and so on. It can do so in many ways by ultimately driving revenue, but four specific applications deserve due note.

#1 Leveraging automation and increasing traffic

Perhaps most notably, digital marketing entails considerable marketing automation. This comes with an array of inherent benefits, including the universal boon of effectively growing one’s customer base. In fact, among the four key benefits of marketing automation Pedalix identifies, three directly address this need – allowing construction marketers to boost efficiency with this asset in hand:

An infographic on the main benefits of marketing automation.

Source: https://startupbonsai.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Marketing-Automation-Statistics-16-18.png

Unfortunately, only 1 in 5 marketers are using marketing automation tools to their fullest. This is due to a few different barriers, including lack of training and resources, lack of budget, and slow onboarding. Still, the sheer benefit as regards time efficiency and valuable lead generation alone should make automation a worthy goal.

These aside, marketing automation lends itself perfectly to optimizing email marketing, social media management, and paid ads, making for a broader holistic improvement to marketing reach. Although most B2B marketers will rightly rely more on targeted marketing, as we’ll cover below, few would solely rely on it – if any. Indeed, they will rightly find less value in marketing to broader audiences, but there’s value in it nonetheless. SEO and content marketing will at all times help generate and acquire leads, which no marketer should overlook.

#2 Augmenting traditional marketing

For that matter, there is ample room for digital marketing in the construction industry as regards expanding marketing channels. It’s very common for the industry to rely more on hands-on, traditional marketing, and outbound marketing tactics. This will, of course, vary, but a degree of need for digitalization seems evident in the research above.

In this regard, construction marketers can combine traditional and digital, instead of needlessly leaning on one excessively. They can, for example, continue to attend networking events and offer business cards, but they can also incorporate business information into email signatures. They can maintain outbound marketing spendings, such as billboards and print ads, but also invest in inbound marketing like SEO and PPC to give audiences agency and entice them visually. The power of video is well-established, even in the industry’s uniquely demanding B2B marketing settings.

#3 Solidifying and humanizing a brand

As a product of the above and a standalone benefit, digital marketing also helps construction marketers’ branding efforts. Branding is not a B2C endeavor, as it directly enhances customer trust – which B2B self-evidently thrives on.

In this regard, digital marketing offers a wealth of platforms, channels, and content forms for marketers to solidify branding truly. It directly enhances some of the most substantive brand image factors and signals, as Oberlo identifies them:

  • Authenticity
  • Recognition
  • First impressions
  • Transparency
  • Values alignment

Among them, brand consistency is particularly notable, as they also find it directly enhances revenue:

An infographic on the importance of brand consistency and its effect on revenue.

Source: https://www.oberlo.com/media/1652687609-branding-statistics-graphic5.png?fm=webp&w=1824&fit=max

It’s no exaggeration to say that brand consistency is among the most crucial trust signals in B2B settings. Construction marketers can use digital marketing to stand out among their peers and build trust with key prospects. How they choose to do so will naturally vary, but brand consistency should be a staple quality in their efforts.

#4 Targeted B2B marketing

Finally, where the above might find universal appeal, targeted B2B marketing is likely uniquely appealing to the industry. Construction marketers typically target specific decision-makers as marketing prospects, which traditional marketing can only achieve with limited efficiency. It’s in this regard that digital marketing can truly shine, especially through its social media subset.

Indeed, social media platforms are undeniably effective B2B marketing tools. As we’ve covered in the past, LinkedIn has become a B2B juggernaut, in no small part due to its built-in targeting tools. It allows marketers to focus on specific audiences, including ones in key companies and positions, crafting ideal, information-rich customer journeys. Facebook does so as well, cementing the value of digital marketing in the construction industry, as the two platforms, in combination, can drastically expand one’s potential audience.

Conclusion

In closing, there is demonstrable value in digital marketing in the construction industry. It is not a panacea for all of the industry’s persisting challenges, nor is it effortless. It is, however, an invaluable asset in times of “cautious optimism.” Combining the above advantages, it can help marketers tap into vast new audiences, solidify branding, and attract valuable B2B prospects. And with enormous, ever-expanding applications for automation, it can do so with notable convenience – a welcome perk for an industry that embraces it somewhat slowly and reservedly.

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Influencer Marketing Continues to be a Hot Category for Marketers in 2021

by Kylie Stanley, Public Relations Technician

Influencer marketing is one of the top forms of marketing, especially in 2021. With influencer marketing being in demand, marketers must use it to seek their target audience.

In a recent report from Linqia, “State of Influencer Marketing,” they outline some of their key findings. While this report is focused on enterprise marketers, these broader B2C influencer marketing trends eventually make their way down to the B2B market.

Here are some of the key highlights:

  • Interest in using TikTok in influencer marketing campaigns rose 325% in just one year
  • 90% of enterprise marketers wanted to work with micro-influencers
  • Marketers are working with significantly fewer influencers than three years ago
  • 86% of respondents are already using shoppable links to allow consumers to go from inspiration to purchase instantly
  • 65% of respondents indicated that measuring ROI continues to be the biggest pain point in influencer marketing

It’s no surprise that the top two platforms are TikTok and Instagram as video content is continuing to grow within influencer channels. In fact, one in three marketers said it is extremely important.

Influencers are more than just their audience; they also create compelling content across channels and this is why they’re so effective.

What changes are you making to your Influencer Marketing Program for 2021?

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5 Business Growth Strategies Used By Top U.S. Companies …

by Jeff Pugel, CEO and founder, Ignition 

…And How You Can Use Them To Grow Your Business

No matter what your company’s specific goals are, the ultimate aim is always to achieve sustainable growth.

Whether you want to increase your total number of customers, annual revenue, lead generation or overall market presence, you need an effective marketing strategy to grow your business.

You can get by on referrals and passive client acquisition techniques for a while but, eventually, the industry will pass your company by if it is not growing.

So, the question is, how do you achieve sustainable growth? Is there a competitive strategy being used by top U.S. companies that you can use yourself? How do you position your company so it is no longer at the mercy of fickle customer relationships and fluctuations in the market? How can you increase your market share while stimulating organic growth?

The best approach is to come up with a marketing plan that incorporates a proven go-to-market strategy that top companies use to generate new leads and sales. Below are five of the best business growth strategies used by top U.S. companies to gain a competitive advantage.

  1. Define Your Company’s Ideal Buyer Profile

Stop chasing unproductive leads. It is a time consuming and unprofitable use of your resources.

Top U.S. companies in every industry do not waste time on leads that don’t translate to sales. There are some audiences that, no matter how skillfully you nurture them, will never be a viable option.

This is why you should create a reliable profile for the type of customer that is not only likely to become a sale but also the type of customer that is a good fit for your company’s services.

Stop concerning yourself with how you can attract the highest number of leads. Narrow your approach and focus on the most productive ones.

Which audiences have you worked well with in the past? Which characteristics set those audiences apart from your other customers? Answering these questions helps you narrow down the type of your ideal buyer.

Remember, top companies are extremely efficient. They do not waste time chasing down pointless leads. Neither should you.

  1. Know When a Lead is Engaging With Your Company

The top companies know when to strike. They know when a prospect is showing genuine interest and how to take the next step.

You have to separate the people who are looking at you out of curiosity from high engagement leads that are indicating legitimate interest.

Again, the goal here is to make the best use of your time and resources. Don’t chase down leads that won’t make a purchase. Define the threshold where someone becomes a qualified lead that is worth pursuing.

Once a lead is determined to have shown genuine interest in your products and services, actively pursue their business and move towards the next part of the sales process.

  1. Provide Your Leads With a Solution to Their Unique Problems

Top companies sell their products or services as needs rather than wants. They don’t say, “Here’s why you might like us.” They say, “Here’s why you can’t afford to be without us.”

There is no way around it, people these days have short attention spans. You need to stand out if you want any chance of securing new business.

The top U.S. companies find a way to make their products and services appear as a solution to a problem. To do this, you have to identify the problem first then show how you can provide the solution.

Identify a problem your ideal lead has then tailor your marketing content around a specific solution to it. What can you do for your prospect that the competition cannot do? Make your offerings appear valuable. This helps you transition them from a potential customer to a successful sale.

  1. Separate Yourself From the Competition

Top companies know that to grow, they need to stand out in their industry.

Entering a crowded marketplace is difficult. You need to demonstrate your competitive advantage over others. Why should your leads choose you instead of someone else?

Growth depends on conversion. To convert leads into sales, discover what you do differently from everyone else in your industry. Find your niche and narrow in on it.

If the competition is doing one thing, do something different. Make sure your leads know that you offer an alternative to what the competition is offering.

  1. Modernize Your Marketing Techniques

The top companies are not where they are by accident. They adopted the latest technologies and data capturing techniques to secure the biggest share of the market they could.

We are now firmly in the digital age. You need a strong online presence without question. Without one, you will not just fail to grow, but your company will become irrelevant. All of the top companies are taking a professional approach to managing their digital, online, and social media presences.

Go where the best leads are. If the leads you want are using a specific social media platform, have a presence there. Are you trying to target a younger client? Chances are advertisements on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter will resonate with them.

Do not overlook the effectiveness of LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows you to connect directly with the decision-makers at the businesses you’re trying to land as clients.

Do not neglect email marketing. Most people use email for the majority of their business conversations. You need to make your agency a part of those conversations.

Learn From the Best

In this day and age, there is no excuse for ignoring what the leaders in your industry are doing. Successful companies plan for growth and work for it.

Be like the top companies and do what it takes to secure the business that allows your company to grow.

These strategies are designed to help your company, but your efforts should not stop there. Study the top companies in your industry and keep evolving.

 

About Jeff Pugel:

Jeff’s goal is straightforward… to help serious business owners generate more clients, close more sales and increase their overall revenue and profits… quickly and inexpensively.

Jeff specializes in sales and marketing for small business owners. Over the years, he’s developed a keen understanding of the complex issues facing small business owners in the type of volatile economy we have today and foreseeable future.

A 20+ years career in marketing working with top marketers including AT&T Wireless, Intel, Advil, American Express, and Esurance prior to becoming a marketing coach has helped Jeff develop the skills to quickly and effectively teach small business owners how to successfully apply the right strategies in the right order that allows them to grow their business to its maximum capacity.

 

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A Picture Is Now Worth Far More Than A Thousand Words

by Rosemarie Ascherl-Lenhard, PR Foreman

Images make everything better.

It’s no secret that we are immersed in the “Age of Visual” culture, with cameras in everyone’s back pocket and with more than 2.5 billion camera phones in use, photos are becoming the “universal language.” If you’ve been paying attention to marketing and social media trends over the past several years, you know that the entire internet is becoming more visual. In fact, a picture might be worth far more than a thousand words now.

Shifts in the social media world are putting bigger emphasis on using high-quality photos in content. It should also be no surprise that the fastest growing social media networks are Instagram and Facebook.

Adding images to your content could be a lot more important than you might think. According to Jeff Bullas’ blog post 6 Powerful Reasons Why You Should Include Images in Your Marketing, images encourage people to engage with your content.

Thinking about your own news browsing habits, you have to admit that you are more likely to click on an article that has an intriguing image.

Jeff shared some interesting stats, including:

  • Articles with images get 94% more total views
  • Including photos or videos with press releases increases views by more than 45%
  • Facebook engagement rates for photos are 37% higher than plain text
  • In an ecommerce site, 67% of consumers say the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing a product
  • In an online store, customers think that the quality of a product’s image is more important than product-specific information (63%), a long description (54%) and ratings and reviews (53%)

Read the rest of his blog post for some tips on integrating photos into your content.

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