Report: B2B Marketers Focus on Two Priorities for 2017

eConsultancy Study Finds That B2B Marketers Are Prioritizing Content Optimization and Customer Experience but Lagging in Mobile

November 27, 2016

B2B marketers have identified two key priorities for 2017, according to a newly released study, “Digital Intelligence Briefing: B2B Digital Trends, 2016-2017,” by eConsultancy and Adobe. The two priorities for B2B marketers?

  • Content optimization
  • Customer experience

“Our research revealed that content marketing continues to be very important for B2B marketers, especially the ability to create high-volume, high-relevance, high-velocity content,” Jill Steinhour, Adobe’s Director Industry Strategy and Marketing for High-Tech and B2B, wrote in the report.

She added that B2B marketers “recognize the added value a superior CX (customer experience) can bring, in the form of increased loyalty and referrals, not to mention reduced turnover.”

The report, which is based on a survey of more than 1,000 marketing, digital, and ecommerce professionals, identified these top three digital priorities for B2B marketers:

  • Content optimization (37 percent)
  • Targeting and personalization (28 percent)
  • Marketing automation (26 percent) 

When asked what single opportunity was most exciting for their organization, customer experience rose to the top:

  • Optimizing the customer experience (20 percent)
  • Creating compelling content for digital experiences (17 percent)
  • Data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual (14 percent)

The study emphasized that achieving these goals, particularly optimizing the customer experience, is complex and requires collaboration across many aspects of the business. In the survey, B2B marketers identified top three elements of delivering a seamless customer experience:

  • Strategy (which eConsultancy defined as “the cohesive plan, long-term view and executive support for the future of our customer”)
  • Data (“having access and control over customer and marketing application data”).
  • Skills (“combining digital marketing skills with analytics and technology”)

Delivering optimal CX is complicated, because a company’s customers encounter a brand at every step of the buyer journey from branding to sales and from onboarding to actually using the product or service. It requires the buy-in of top management, access to appropriate data, and departments working together seamlessly.

The report found that collaboration is often overlooked by B2B marketers as a critical piece of providing an excellent customer experience. “Without teams working together, the experience becomes disjointed as the customer flows through the different parts of the journey, invariably interacting with different teams with potentially no idea of previous activity,” the report said.

Also overlooked, the report found, is the mobile customer experience. B2B marketers may be severely underestimating the impact of mobile on the buying process. The report says that B2B marketers may be viewing mobile “as a tactical problem to solve rather than a seismic event. But based on the growth of mobile traffic and influence, that view may underemphasize the need for greater capability.”

B2B marketers, however, did reveal an understanding that new and upgraded skills in digital marketing, analytics and technology are necessary to handle the overwhelming change facing their department. Fifty-four percent of marketers surveyed said their teams need to be trained in “new techniques, channels and disciplines.”

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