Social media and viral video have seen dramatic growth among b2b marketers, and virtually all forms of newer media are now valued by these marketers as demand generation channels, according to an exclusive survey of b2b and b-to-c marketing professionals by BtoB and the Association of National Advertisers.
“Harnessing the Power of Newer Media Platforms for More Effective Marketing,” which updates a survey BtoB and the ANA conducted two years ago, shows dramatic growth in the use of social media as a marketing tactic. Sixty-six percent of the marketers surveyed said they are now using social media, up from 20% of respondents to the 2007 survey. Among b2b marketers specifically, 57% are now using social media channels, up from just 15% in the earlier survey.
The survey finding will be presented on the opening day of B-to-B Marketing in the New World, a conference that will be produced by BtoB and the ANA Aug. 4-5 in Chicago.
Asked what “newer media” tactic they are not currently using but plan to use within the next year, both b2b and b-to-c marketers responded that blogs topped the list. The next highest response was mobile. According to the survey, mobile is currently used about three times more by b-to-c marketers than their b2b counterparts (52% versus 18%). B2b marketers also expressed high interest in using viral video and podcasts within the next year.
Asked about specific social media networks they currently use, an overwhelming 81% of b2b marketers cited LinkedIn, compared with just 25% of the b-to-c marketers. Interestingly, microblogging service Twitter ranked higher among b2b (70%) than b-to-c (46%) respondents. Facebook is the most-used social media site overall (74%), and enjoys high use among b2b marketers (60%).
Generally speaking, b2b marketers' objectives in using newer media platforms have moved strongly to demand generation since the 2007 survey. For example, in 2007, 49% of the sample said the primary objective of their company's Web site was “brand building.” This year, that dropped to 34%, and the objective of demand generation increased from 39% two years ago to 47% now.
Similarly, the objective of social media use shifted. This year, 51% cited brand building as the objective compared with 65% in 2007. And demand generation has increased from 10% to 30%. Even viral video, which in 2007 almost two-thirds (65%) of the b2b marketers said was mostly for brand building, is now seen as a demand generation medium. In the latest survey, 35% cited viral video for brand building, while 58% (versus 27% in 2007) cited demand generation.
Regarding the measurement of newer media, this year's survey found b2b marketers tend to have more of a process in place on newer media such as social networks (44% b2b versus 32% b-to-c), viral video (39% versus 19%), blogs (50% versus 24%) and mobile (83% versus 70%). Also, the effectiveness ratings by b2b marketers increased from 2007.
While the Web site ranks at the top for both b2b and b-to-c marketers (58% and 54%, respectively), b2b marketers differ greatly from their b-to-c counterparts when it comes to one newer media tactic: webinars. Just 6% of b-to-c marketers scored webinars as effective versus 48% of b2b marketers.
The top concerns for both b2b and b-to-c marketers when considering newer media platforms is the inability to prove ROI (44% b2b, 56% b-to-c) and having metrics to properly allocate the mix of traditional and digital media (42% b2b, 49% b-to-c).
In terms of spending on newer media, b2b marketers tend to spend a greater percentage of their budgets on newer media platforms. B-to-c marketers, meanwhile, are much more likely to shift funds from their traditional media budget (78% versus 42%) to fund newer media.
Coming as no surprise given the recession, about half of both b2b and b-to-c marketers are projecting that they will spend less overall this year versus last (49% b2b and 56% b-to-c).
For newer media spending, however, 62% of b2b and 71% of b-to-c marketers said they planned increases; those planning to spend less were a much smaller group (14% and 7%, respectively). Nearly a quarter (23% b2b, 22% b-to-c) said they would spend about the same.
The online survey, conducted in June, tabulated the responses of 172 client-side marketers, of whom 77 were “primarily” b2b, 41 were primarily b-to-c and 54 were an equal mix of both. M