The B2B Marketing Landscape – Paralysed by Choice?
The B2B Marketing Landscape – Paralysed by Choice?
“An “inciting incident” disrupts the status quo. This happens in every film and it needs to happen in business.” Clay Hausmann, CMO, Aktana
The B2B Media events space is growing
At last year’s #ThinkContent 2017, Clay Hausmann, Aktana’s CMO, delivered an important message to disrupt. But now, not even a year later, instead of one “inciting incident,” marketers are faced with endless factors that are disrupting their status quo, from quickly developing markets to technology. There is so much confusion as to whether marketing strategy, objectives, or platforms should change. In a politically, economically and technologically volatile market where time is of the essence, the speed at which the market changes and the volume of options make planning so much more difficult. B2B marketers are constantly being sold to by conference companies, trade associations, publishers and more – the B2B media and events space is expanding quickly, with the number of suppliers currently standing at around 8,000 on EI’s database. The general increase in the amount of media suppliers is further explained when we examine growth in individual markets.
"The UK retail events market grew by 22% from 2016 to 2017 and the amount of marketing events in DACH has grown by 18% since 2016."
This rise in the number of events and suppliers is presenting marketers with so much choice – how can you sift through the new opportunities and know that they are worth pursuing, whilst justifying legacy sponsorship of events you have attended for years? It is overwhelming for marketers who are now bombarded with so much choice, yet at the same time, presents exciting opportunities to pursue new activities and to identify those engagements that really do bring tangible ROI.
The endless supply of martech
With a growing market, comes a growing number of tools
According to a recent Gartner survey, the average company currently uses 22 martech tools, with another eight in the process of being implemented. The availability of martech has surged over the past seven years to almost 5,000 companies offering solutions as part of the ecosystem; the industry has seen an increase of over 3200% since 2011. Whilst some tools may seem an obvious choice and fill a serious gap in your marketing strategy, others may be less tangible to identify. For example, we recently had the dilemma of choosing an appropriate piece of martech for our very own marketing content calendar – where do you find such a piece of martech? Does that fall within content marketing, dashboards, collaboration or project management? How do you compare martech across these different sub-sectors, when they didn’t exist a year ago? Not only are we now faced with such a huge array of possible solutions, but the market is so new that we are only just beginning to discover its capabilities, and to educate ourselves about how best to leverage it.
In the face of overwhelming choice
An easy habit to fall into regarding marketing strategy is 'doing it this way because that's the way we've always done it'
From programmatic to native advertising, SEO to artificial intelligence, the spend options are enormous, and you can no longer rely on legacy activity to deliver, particularly with the unknown impact of GDPR this year.
In a recent survey by Smart Insights, readers were asked to select the single marketing activity that they believe will make the largest commercial impact for the business in 2018 – the largest portion (20%) replied with Content Marketing. This was followed closely by Big Data (14%) and AI and Machine Learning (14%). But what will this look like by the end of this year when these latter technologies are only in their infancy?
Of course, we will most likely continue to rely on Content Marketing, but the variety of formats this can take will continue to expand – the most prominent example of this is live video and the way in which users discover your content is transforming with voice search. No-one has a bottomless budget, so identifying the right form of marketing activity when faced with such a huge variety will become an even bigger challenge.
Which single market activity will make the largest commercial impact for your business?
- Content Marketing
- Big Data
- AI & Machine Learning
Today, it seems that marketers are faced with many “inciting incidents” that are indeed disrupting the status quo. But these challenges can also be seen as opportunities. At EI, our analysts take the time to cut through the volume of options to find the most appropriate channels, effective platforms and strong thought leadership ideas on behalf of our clients. But we would love to know how you are finding your way and steering your strategy through the current overwhelming market position. How are you taking on the ever-changing marketing landscape of 2018.
How we can help
What is unique about EI Advisory?
- Primary research
- Media supplier mapping
- Independent opinion
- Detailed reporting
- Negotiate and support for integrated B2B sponsorships
EI Advisory offers B2B media intelligence services to global organisations, giving independent analysis and insight to clients, based on primary research and years of expertise in media markets.
EI has clients both in the UK and overseas, and specialises in, but is not limited to, financial services, professional services and tech firms. No matter the industry,
Since its inception in 2007, EI has built extensive research capabilities across a number of media markets. Using its database of over 8000 international suppliers, EI tracks activities including events, broad business media, trade media and business schools within a particular media space, identifying the leading opportunities for clients
We focus on creating integrated target audience engagement plans through:
•Face to Face opportunities
EI always works to identify the best opportunities for B2B marketers to achieve their goals, be it thought leadership, brand awareness or lead generation.
A small selection of the companies we work for