Business Optimism Grows for B2B Marketers

Figures from the B2B Barometer1 show that the economic situation for B2B marketers looks optimistic for the future:

Business optimism gradually returning amongst B2B marketers

On the client side:

  • Three fifths (60%) anticipate economic recovery within the next 12 months
  • Two thirds (66%) expect their own organisation to grow in the next 12 months (up from 50%)
  • Three quarters (73%) expect marketing spend to increase; up from one half (48%) last wave.

Agencies are more optimistic, with four fifths (79%) anticipating that they will grow over the next 12 months. For many agencies this represents a significant turnaround in their fortunes; 45% report that revenues have declined in the last 12 months. For others it represents a continuation of an existing trend; 34% report growth in the last 12 months.

Newer media continue to increase share of wallet

Client-side marketers continue to allocate a significant proportion of their budgets to three channels; trade shows (16%), direct mail (13%) and email marketing (16%). ‘Newer’ media channels continue their rise and now account for 41% of total marketing spend (up from 39% last wave).

Increased focus on measuring ROMI

There is a noticeable trend towards measuring the Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI)
from this spend. Two thirds of client-side marketers (65%) now measure return compared
with one half (49%) last wave. Unsurprisingly given this focus on accountability, two fifths
(39%) of agencies report that some or all of their clients measure agency performance using
ROMI measures.

Social media relevant …but B2B marketers lack understanding

Two trends have received extensive coverage in the B2B press in recent months:

  • The alignment of marketing with sales
  • Social media in a B2B context.

The B2B Barometer sought to explore each area in some depth and has brought fact to an
area where opinion dominated:

  • Sales and marketing are becoming more closely aligned. Although 50% of client side and agency side marketers believe marketing still plays a secondary role to sales in B2B organisations, three quarters (70%) of clients report that the two functions are actually effectively aligned. Marketing may play second fiddle but it supports sales well
  • Social media is perceived to be relevant in a B2B context. Three fifths (60%) of client-side marketers feel it is relevant to them and two thirds (66%) of agencies feel it is relevant to their clients. And social media is not a fad. Approximately three quarters of both clients and agencies disagree that social media in a B2B context is a passing phase
  • However social media is still an area which puzzles many marketers. Two thirds of client-side marketers (63%) have no social media strategy in place; two fifths (41%) cite ‘insufficient understanding’ as the reason for this

For more information visit

1The B2B Barometer is compiled by the Institute of Direct Marketing (IDM), the Association of B2B Agencies (ABBA) and Circle Research

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