The top three challenges identified by BtoB marketers in 2010 remain squarely focused on demand generation, according to data shared at last week’s Marketing Profs Business to Business Forum in Boston. According to the findings of the Q1 2010 B2B Marketing Budgets And Tactics Survey, conducted by Forrester Research and Marketing Profs, the challenges cited by marketers were:
- generating more leads (50%),
- reaching decision makers (46%)
- improving lead quality (44%)
However, in a session presented by Peter Burris, Principal Analyst and Research Director for Forrester's Technology Marketing Research Team and Roy Young, President, MarketingProfs, the two top analysts cautioned marketers that traditional marketing approaches may fail to reach today’s socially savvy buyers.
With Forrester research showing 88% of business technology professionals indicating they use social media for business decision-making, Burris stressed marketers must understand buyers’ social behavior. “Successful BtoB marketers must move from social media to community marketing,” he said.
Burris contrasted the old model of engagement where market interactions were based on products and extending offers and waiting for prospects to respond, to the new paradigm where interactions are “based on business outcomes” and matching solutions to the needs of the buyer to effectively engage.
He added that solution providers must “demonstrate that you understand the outcome,” and shared the following Forrester data on the key factors buyers cited in selecting a vendor:
- Fit for a specific need at a specific time (72%)
- Sales person’s ability to understand problem (63%)
- Sales person’s ability to get things done for us (55%)
- Vendor’s Reputation in the marketplace (52%)
While web sites and email continue to dominate the marketing mix for most BtoB organizations, MarketingProfs Young that digital tactics are shifting in 2010. The Q1 2010 B2B Marketing Budgets And Tactics Survey found 61% of respondents plan to use social networks more and 51% plan to increase their use of microblogs and Twitter.
“Marketers must shift strategy from outbound campaigns to inbound dialogue creation,” Young said. He also suggested that social media can address the growing need to nurture prospects over time. “Marketing mix must develop, not just generate, demand.”