Statistics Prove The Chasm Between B2C & B2B Marketing Priorities

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A recent Adobe Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing offered up some extremely interesting statistics about what the study’s respondents had to say about their top digital priorities for this year. It seems that some widely ballyhooed technologies such as convergence are receiving barely a blip of interest by major brand online marketers while some of the bread and butter issues such as content marketing, targeting and personalization are seen to be prime priorities in the balance of 2014.

Over 800 major B2C & B2B marketers were polled

The study asked 496 primary B2C marketers and 319 main B2B online marketers what their opinions were on the most and least significant aspects of their digital campaigns and arrived at eye-opening results. Targeting and personalization was the single most important factor to B2C marketers with a total score of 34% while content marketing captured the attention and focus of most B2B marketers at 44%. B2C marketers’ subsequent priorities were conversion rate optimization at 33%, social media engagement at 32%, mobile optimization at 31%, multichannel campaign management at 29%, and then content marketing scoring a full 16 points below their B2B counterparts at just 28%.

B2C marketers profoundly disagree with their B2B counterparts

B2B marketers seemed to have considerably different priorities for their campaigns this year, as the second highest score of 26% is a tie between content optimization and social media engagement. Next up is another tie but this time between conversion rate optimization and brand building & viral marketing at 23%, targeting and personalization at 22%, and multichannel campaign management at 21%. Every online marketer is well aware of the deep schism and wide chasm between B2C and B2B marketing but for these primary respondents to have such a broad disagreement on so many items of digital priority is somewhat surprising. After all it is marketing overall, isn’t it?

B2B marketers appreciate marketing automation 263% more than B2Cers

Some of the differences become almost absurdly pronounced when we get to the lower digital priorities. The one that stands out the most is the variance between how B2C and B2B marketers look upon marketing automation. This item is actually tied with multichannel campaign management at 21% on the B2B side but it seems that B2C marketers don’t have much use for it as only 8% listed it as a digital priority in 2014. Why more than two and a half times more B2B marketers are enamored of marketing automation over their B2C colleagues is effectively a mystery but the statistics don’t lie. While you could likely come up with several reasons why marketing automation is more of an important factor in the B2B online marketing world than it is in the B2C arena, you’d be hard pressed to come up with anything that is responsible for such a huge 263% jump!

Social media ROI analysis remains the elephant in the room

The elephant in the social media room has always been the prospect of analyzing precisely and with certainty how the activities and expenditures confronted by online marketers in engaging their social networking followers result in a clearly definable return on investment (ROI). While the ROI of email marketing is precisely determinable, social media ROI is more of an arcane art than a science. Therefore when the Adobe study shows that only 11% of B2C marketers and a mere 9% of B2B marketers consider social media analytics to be a digital priority this year, that statistic can be readily interpreted not as a hit on the importance of social media ROI but in the unfortunate inadequacy of any analytics tool which has been devised so far.

Convergence is a keynote of this decade with the widespread expectation that television and computing/mobile devices are becoming a single unit which can provide a seamless and comprehensive experience to the user. It seems that is not yet a digital priority due to the fact that only 2% of B2C marketers stated it was important and just 1% of B2Bers believed it a priority. In a study which shows considerable divergence among B2C vs. B2B, at least they can agree on this factor!

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