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B2B Milestones for 2015: Why B2B Marketing Will Never Be the Same After 2015

By Nick Price

Growth in digital advertising and data/business information sales helped drive $14.1 billion in B2B media during the first half of 2015, up 4.4 percent year-over-year, according to ABM’s mid-year Business Information Network (BIN) report. The research also revealed that digital advertising revenue finally eclipsed print revenue in the second quarter with $1.66 billion in revenue, slightly ahead of print’s $1.65 billion in revenue.
The events business is still the primary revenue source for B2B media, representing $6.26 billion in revenue during the first half of 2015, or 44.4 percent of total industry revenue. And while the events business holds strong, revenues in the segment are not growing nearly as quickly as digital advertising and data revenues. Data and business information also grew during the first half of the year to $1.47 billion, an 8.1 percent increase over the prior year.
The report revealed that while CPMs for display units continue to drop in both B2B and consumer digital media space, digital advertising will continue to be at the forefront of B2B media. In fact, digital advertising grew to $3.12 billion, up 14.7 percent as compared to the first half of 2014. The combination of digital advertising with marketing services solutions, the rise of native advertising and digitally-driven content marketing, along with new KPIs and improvements in viewability and delivery will keep digital advertising at the forefront of B2B media growth, according to the report.
Just as the use of data will continue to increase, customer service will also play a major factor in B2B marketing. Understanding buyer needs is the primary go-to-market strategy in B2B today, according to research from Regalix, which revealed that this strategy is the No. 1 tactic of 69 percent of respondents.
Eighty percent of B2B marketers said that creating marketing collateral was a top priority for product marketing. 71 percent said that sales enablement was a top priority, 70 percent identified defining position as a leading approach, 70 percent said that creating marketing plans was the leading task and 69 percent said that launch planning was a key initiative. In metrics for measuring effectiveness, surprisingly, a whopping 89 percent of B2B marketers reported that they use ‘new customer acquisition’ to measure the impact of product marketing, while 70 percent of those surveyed revealed they look at ‘revenue generated’ to measure success.
A company’s website is the leading channel for B2B marketers, with 91 percent of leading B2B marketers reporting that they rely on this tool as their channel of choice. 89 percent of B2B marketers use email for marketing to potential clients, 77 percent rely on webinars, 76 percent use social media and 64 percent use SEO.
We expect digital to continue to grow in 2016. Over the next year, we predict that data will completely transform the way B2B marketers approach digital. Expect account-based marketing to rise and lead scoring to become laser-accurate. We also anticipate that more marketers will embrace predictive marketing and that customer-centric content gets much better with data.
In addition, 2016 will be a transition year for in-house B2B programmatic with regard to digital. B2B marketers are starting to understand the benefits of programmatic and we expect to see them embrace the ability to target and engage audiences at scale, across channels, and across screens.
Image via Christian Schnettelker

Nick Price

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