The Irish B2B marketing sector has benefited overall positively from the pandemic, according to a new report released by Squaredot, the B2B marketing agency in partnership with the Marketing Institute of Ireland (MII).
The annual survey on B2B marketing, an industry valued at over 100 million euros per year, shows that marketing services have been increasingly used since March last year due to the need to run companies digitally.
According to the report, COVID-19 has increased reliance on B2B marketing departments for more than half of respondents (52%). This was primarily because the traditional channels for making connections such as meetings and events were all taboo. Many quickly had to get used to a pure digital strategy and were under pressure to get the transformation right, as it was becoming increasingly important not only for sales but also for employer branding.
The survey also found that Irish B2B marketers are being urged to do more with less – fewer resources and less budget – as the buyer journey is now even more online than it was before Covid, while sales teams press the marketing function to Creating content that helps in the sales process.
During the pandemic, 41% of all respondents said their marketing budgets had been reduced, while another 47% stayed the same. That leaves only 12% who have increased their budget in order to take advantage of all opportunities and stay one step ahead of the competition.
The survey also found that 22% seek C-suite purchases and feel the need to demonstrate ROI and pressure to perform, with just over a third (37%) saying they have adequate in-house resources. Only 46% expect budgets to be increased for 2021.
According to respondents, the top three challenges facing the sector as a whole are generating leads, building brand awareness and demonstrating ROI.
It also found that recommendations B2B companies still deliver both the largest number and the highest lead quality with 20% and 25% respectively.
However, Squaredot CEO Ian Blake cautions that this approach is a powerful tool, but it’s a limited one. “With referrals, early growth looks promising, but in the end the number of existing customers and friends you can rely on will dry up. Marketing and branding will make the difference in terms of sustainable growth. “
The survey also shows that B2B marketers understand the role of brand and positioning, but only 44% think they are “a little different” from their competition.
Blake says this is a “massive opportunity” for B2B companies investing in branding. The results of the report show that B2B marketers are constantly able to generate short-term leads for selling feeds. “If they took the time and budget to build their brand, the leads would be a lot easier to generate,” says Blake.
To download a full copy of the Irish B2B Marketing Survey, click HERE