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%).
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.