A recent survey of large businesses serving B2B markets reveals that marketers are buoyant about their growth prospects, but they face numerous challenges that could hold them back. Regardless of the industry, those in trades and services are more optimistic about their b2b marketing budgets and, when armed with the right approach and focus, most problem areas can be turned into the greatest drivers of growth for your business.
It’s no secret that B2B marketing is complex, holistic, and inextricably entwined with sales and revenue, but there are challenges that could hold B2B marketers back.
Building Market Share
Faced by almost half of organizations, inertia is one of the substantial barriers to growth in B2B markets, meaning it is difficult getting people to switch over from competing brands and suppliers. Market research provides vital insight on how to gain the loyalty of customers, and revealing the biggest triggers that drive brand switching.
Innovation has consistently been a top challenge for the last few years. Nearly 50% of businesses rate their performance a six or below, putting significant pressure on businesses to have a structured process to innovation. This suggests that a systematic approach to ideation, concept development, and product assessment (including market research) can help outperform competitors.
In a strengthening economy, customers have heightened expectations as they typically spend more compared to when markets are turbulent. With their increasing marketing budgets, marketers are diligently persuading the market to buy their products/services. Almost half of businesses feel keeping customers is a challenge in a highly competitive market.
Improving Internal Processes
Businesses recognize that challenges are not only external. Half of marketers indicate internal processes, such as CRM and training, can be improved. This challenge has also become more widespread. Keeping up with the latest technology is now challenging just under a third of organizations compared to around a fifth. With this in mind, businesses embrace digital trends to drive efficiency and knowledge. The most trending topic expected to influence marketing strategies and practices over the next five years is digital transformation.
Countering the Competition
Nearly 49% of marketers say they are challenged by countering the competition. 38 percent claim they have a marketing strategy in place that focuses on competitor analysis, and 41% believe competitor research would be among the most useful types of research studies to invest in in the coming years. Market research can be useful for identifying weaknesses as well as priorities of your competitors.
The Top Strategy for Growth: Branding
The most popular marketing strategy across the board is branding, with 6 in 10 marketers currently focusing on initiatives to grow and defend their brand(s). Still, many marketers and corporate research professionals face challenges in establishing their brands. Only 41% believe their organization has a strong USP (unique selling proposition) and just 43% perform well in measuring their brand health regularly.
A brand is a value driver and must continue to be the focus of marketers and corporate researchers to fuel long-term growth. Investing in the brand will mitigate many of the challenges currently faced, since a strong brand propels appeal and demand to counter the competition and build market share, supports innovation, and corresponds strongly with loyalty and advocacy.
Alongside branding, you also need to keep in mind these following ways to surmount the above-mentioned challenges:
Get all your data in one place – Establish an accessible location in a way that everything is defined the same under one roof to compare campaigns holistically and understand—really, which programs are the most effective in driving your key KPIs.
Define your insights and act on them – Start by defining the questions you want to be answered so you move away from vanity metrics and eventually move towards understanding the ROI gained via marketing channels.
Share the data – Once your data is consolidated, sharing information becomes easier as everyone is in sync. Different teams can come together and understand where the gaps are to determine the next best opportunity to act on.
Know what you don’t know – As data and sources are ever-increasing without an end in sight, it’s difficult to uncover the unknowns if you’re not leveraging advanced technologies. It is virtually impossible for a team of analysts to crawl data as fast, and to cross reference and understand what’s contributing to a KPI’s performance.