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B2B Marketing in a World More Volatile Than Ever
Today's B2B marketing leaders are facing challenges unlike any we've seen in our careers. But if the compounding crises of the 2020s have proven anything, it’s that the B2B marketing function is resilient, and its leaders are finding new ways to drive influence, impact and growth across their organizations.
The B2B Marketing Benchmark explores the global state of the B2B marketing discipline - with a lens toward equipping our profession with a data-backed roadmap for success.
Benchmarking Today's B2Brilliant Brands
LinkedIn and Ipsos surveyed 1,954 B2B CMOs, CFOs and senior B2B marketers across the US, UK, Germany, France, India, Australia, Singapore and Brazil, examining how they're faring amid uncertainty, what they're doing to drive growth at their companies and how their roles are evolving.
Analysis of LinkedIn internal data was informed by the B2B Index, a new LinkedIn metric which measures effective B2B brand building. LinkedIn calculates the B2B Index by looking at three dimensions that signal strong performance on the platform:
• Brand Investment (Examples: Paid Spending, Posting by Company Executives)
• Brand Creative Quality & Investment Effectiveness (Examples: Dwell Time, Customer Outcomes)
• Brand Advocacy & Visibility (Examples: Qualified Applications, Non-Employee Mentions)
We’re Striving to Define What Successful B2B Marketing Looks Like
LinkedIn's new brand metric, called the B2B Index, measures brand heat in B2B.
"Our composite score takes into account the most important features of a strong B2B brand: creative quality, investment and audience intent. We're using this index to analyze best-in-class B2B work, and, very soon, we'll be launching a leaderboard to celebrate the organizations that stand out for their brand work."
B2B Budgets & Outlook
See how B2B organizations are spending their marketing budgets. How optimistic are they about the year ahead?
Despite economic uncertainty, B2B budgets are remaining steady – and in some cases even growing marginally.
6 in 10 senior B2B leaders say budgets have increased in past years, with two in three claiming budgets will continue to increase in the next year.
Invest in Brand and Demand During the Slowdown
Keeping brand and demand spend high during a slowdown helps brands bounce quicker alongside the market.
"We’ve seen success in always keeping brand spend at 54% of our allocation, while the demand budget should be split between very focused net new lead generation and upsell customer motions."
The B2B Marketing Organization
The skills, practices, relationships and tools that B2B marketing organizations need to excel
As the influence of the CMO continues to evolve in the C-Suite, soft skills like problem-solving, innovative thinking and agility/adaptability are becoming more important for both leaders and their reports.
Leaders and their reports are embracing creative skills strategically and tactically.
Top changes to the role of CMO
47% more direct role in driving revenue
47% expected to demonstrate impact to the bottom line
40% under more pressure to prove ROI in less time
CMOs Are Key to Unlocking Business Growth
The best CMOs bring together customer data and critical insights to inform a brand’s growth strategy.
They reflect the customer experience and how this drives behavior, as well as provide a valuable feedback loop for understanding loyalty and where future growth will come from.
"CMOs offer an essential connection in the drive to remain competitive and agile; their ability to identify and guide the response to unmet customer needs, align long term brand value with consistent delivery of a core promise and ensure that brand experiences cut through the overwhelm of noise and choice are critical to success."
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Though diversity, equity and inclusion programs have grown, one-third of B2B companies still don’t have a formal DEI program in place.
5 in 10 say DEI is very important to their B2B marketing team and company.
Building Equity-Minded Marketing Programs
To succeed, organizations need to fully integrate DEI initiatives into their core values and business strategies. Those that respond to outside pressures and trends will lose momentum quickly.
"Within my Community-Led Growth team, we embed DEI into our team culture, marketing strategies and customer experiences.
Doing so makes it impossible for us to divorce our DEI initiatives with how we go-to-market."
B2B Marketing Strategies
What are the most important avenues for reaching B2B customers and prospects?
B2B marketers are quickly realizing the importance of emerging technologies like AI in reaching their audiences. Though generative AI is not being used by a majority of B2B marketers, nor do many have a good understanding of how to use it, the majority of B2B marketers (75%) are excited about investing in generative AI in the next year.
53% plan to use AI to increase efficiency so they can focus on higher value work
49% plan to use AI to create optimized and engaging content
54% plan to use AI to generate more content in less time
AI as a B2B Marketing Boon
Generative AI enables data-driven decision-making, predictive analytics and faster A/B testing, leading to better marketing outcomes. But this technology should always be used in conjunction with human expertise and judgment – allowing for it to be fine-tuned and for its insights to be validated.
"When properly integrated, generative AI empowers marketing and advertising teams to achieve near-perfect content and ideas with remarkable speed. By embracing generative AI, we unlock new dimensions of creativity and efficiency, propelling our marketing initiatives to unprecedented heights."
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