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B2B Brands Tap (Social) Content Marketing for Lead Generation

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With lead acquisition the top goal of today’s B2B companies, marketers are prioritizing investments in social media and digital content marketing in 2011, according to a survey from Focus. Meanwhile, client understanding and customer retention are top goals for B2C brands with marketers emphasizing social media, digital content, and email as a means to achieve their goals.

Most (55%) B2B companies cite acquiring leads as their top strategic priority in 2011, followed by building brand awareness (49%) and lead conversion (45%).

B2C brands cite improved client understanding (49%) and brand awareness (49%) as top strategic goals in 2011, followed by customer retention (40%).

Below, additional findings from the Marketers' Benchmark Survey, conducted by Focus.com.


Overall, marketers are prioritizing investment in social media as the way to meet their goals over the next 12 months, increasing investment in social media-related technologies, including social monitoring, campaign management tools, and analytics.

Most Important Marketing Channels*, B2B

B2B marketers plan to invest most heavily in social technologies (59%) and digital content (47%) over the next 12 months, followed by investments in search (30%) and email (30%).

Mobile (15%) and display advertising (6%) rank far lower on B2B marketers list of priorities.
Email is still the top-performing marketing channel in terms of ROI (36%), followed by online content (35%).

Most Important Marketing Channels*, B2C

B2C marketers plan to invest most heavily in social technologies (60%) over the next 12 months, followed by investments in online content (50%) and email (50%)—also last year's top-performing channel (43%).

Content Marketing

Marketers' content marketing preferences echo their focus on social media.

Among various content channels, B2B marketers say blog posts (39%) are the most successful in directly supporting marketing objectives, followed by webinars and virtual events (38%) and industry whitepapers (31%).

B2C marketers also cite blog posts (37%) and webinars and virtual events (34%) as most valuable in supporting marketing objectives, but they place more value than their B2B counterparts on data-driven research content (29% vs. 20%) and user-generated content (23% vs. 17%).

Budgets on the Rise

Though marketers identify their top challenge in "doing more with less," 50% say they are increasing marketing budgets over the next 12 months, compared with only 16% decreasing budgets.

* Marketers were asked, "Which channels performed the strongest over the last 12 months," and "Which channels are you investing in most over the next 12 months?"

About the data: Findings are from the "2011 Marketers' Benchmarking Report," based on a survey of 172 marketers from late April 27 to May 3, 2011. Respondents represented companies of all sizes and industries and were drawn from the membership at Focus.com.


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  • by SpencerBroome Wed Jul 6, 2011 via web

    Will be interesting to see if this year's top investments (social, etc) turn into top performers over the next year.

  • by Nick Stamoulis Wed Jul 6, 2011 via web

    It is not surprise that getting leads is a top priority for B2B brands. Ever since the economy crashed, B2B buyers have really tightened up their purse strings. The buying cycle has completely changed and all the power lies in the hands of the potential customer. Getting a solid lead with real potential is much harder.

  • by Arnie Kuenn Wed Jul 6, 2011 via web

    I actually find the first chart hard to believe that social media is a top performer. Unless I am reading that chart wrong. We have just not seen social covert anywhere near as well as search, email and content.

  • by Jon Aston Wed Jul 6, 2011 via web

    This study is basically meaningless...

    "Findings are from the "2011 Marketers' Benchmarking Report," based on a survey of 172 marketers from late April 27 to May 3, 2011. Respondents represented companies of all sizes and industries..."

    What exactly is the value in this data for benchmarking purposes?

    I hate to sound so categorical about it but I expect better editorial standards from MarketingProfs.com... even the free stuff.

  • by Paul Mosenson Thu Jul 7, 2011 via web

    Here's the problem when it comes to social media. You need to separate fund investment with resource investment. Certainly the "cost" of social media is nowhere near the cost of search, TV, print, etc. Perhaps the charts should be separated into dollars invested vs. time invested for a clearer picture. My 2 cents.

  • by Daniel | Propaganda House Mon Jul 11, 2011 via web

    Social Media is unlikely to hit the top performers list until marketers learn better techniques for measuring it's effectiveness. Then we'll not only see proof of ROI but much more efficient use of the medium.

    Good point Paul - surely a dollar value can be placed on the time invested though?

  • by Marcel Van Sister Tue Jul 19, 2011 via web

    I agree with this article but I also believe the days of converting from a single comms or single email anticipating the sale is over. Consumers now rely on trust and dont want to be sold too initially. Multiple channels are what is needed to be a niche expert.

    Consumers are demanding this.

    Think about the last time you made an online purchase. Did you buy from the very first email? Or did you receive emails over a period of time, then follow their blog, receive daily tweets, subscribe to a whitepaper, receive a freebie before you felt confortable and ready to engage and buy? Whether you are dealing B2B or B2C, multiple channels of communication is needed.

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