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Research Identifies Best in Class Marketing, but Something Doesn’t Smell Quite Right


How Does Your Marketing Program Benchmark Against Best in Class Practices?

describe the image  state of marketing

There have been a few research reports released recently that make for great reading – if you’re a marketer that is. If you’re not a marketer, but control your company’s purse strings in some fashion, you may not be enamored of reading marketing research stuff, but you’ll get a pretty good idea of where the smart marketing budget money is going!

I combed through these reports from The Content Marketing Institute and Salesforce/Exact Target, and came up with a short checklist of 6 critical benchmarks that I believe capture best in class digital marketing practices.

Benchmark Your Marketing Against These 6 Best in Class Practices

Let’s see how well you do:

____ Our top marketing priority in 2014 is to drive increased conversion rates.

According to Salesforce/ExactTarget, a focus on conversion rates comes as no surprise, as more and more marketing teams work to align with their sales teams and prove value through concrete results.

____ We have someone one who oversees our content marketing strategy.

According to the CMI report, The majority of the most effective B2B marketers (86%) have someone who oversees content marketing strategy;  however, only 46% of less effective marketers do.

____ A top priority for us in 2014 is to increase and improve our brand awareness.

According to Salesforce/ExactTarget, respondents across almost every level of the organization also identified brand awareness as a top priority—indicating that brand is still a core focus, even beyond the CMO. With this in mind, we expect to see marketers using social media, mobile, and personalized web experiences to better boost their brand with customers.

____ We have a documented content strategy.

B2B marketers who have a documented content strategy are far more likely to  consider themselves effective (66% vs. 11%), according to the CMI report.

____ In 2014, we’re making the collection, measurement and use of behavior-based data a top priority.

The Salesforce/Exacttraget report found that more data enables marketers to build better 1:1 customer experiences and cut through the communication clutter, so it’s now more important than ever to have a plan and process around collecting that data.

____ We spend over a third of our marketing budget on content marketing.

According to the CMI report found that the most effective B2B marketers  spend a higher percentage (39%) of  their budgets on content marketing than their least effective peers do (16%).

2014 State of Marketing Infographic

Embedded from ExactTarget

Unspoken Lessons

One of the issues that I have with these reports is that they make it seem like content marketing is the be all and end all of marketing for B2B firms. My take – content marketing and other forms of digital and online marketing are absolutely and fundamentally critical, but need to be a part of a comprehensive integrated marketing strategy.

There’s still room in marketing for collateral material, print advertising, trade shows, and of course, referrals and networking as a means to generate leads and get new business. It just seems that with all of the noise and posturing about digital marketing these days, there’s pressure to get rid of all traditional marketing, and that’s a simply unworkable proposition.

Marketing programs need strategic, tactical and budgetary balance – and that’s not an easy path to follow. Finding that balance is one of the most difficult and challenging responsibilities for marketers and those in control of the purse strings. That’s one reason why marketing analytics is so important and fundamental in today’s marketing environment.

So, while the 6 benchmarks represent best in class practices, I do want to add this 7th:

____ In our 2014 marketing budget, we have considered a combination of digital and traditional marketing strategies, and have a plan – and budget - that is perfectly balanced for generating more leads, more new business and a bigger bang for our marketing buck.

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