The Changing Marketing Landscape
It’s not just in your head if you think marketing has become more complex in the last few decades. What used to be one target market is now a market that leads to endless submarkets. Gone are the days where you can easily define an average customer because segmentation is a web of possibilities.
One reason for this is that consumerism has just exploded with Millennials and Generation Z exerting spending power unseen by previous generations. Companies and organizations have risen to the occasion to meet consumer demand by developing new products and services, however outlandish they may be (case and point—goat rentals, smash rooms, and even toothbrush sanitizers!).
Because consumers have more options than ever, organizations must excel at marketing to make that coveted sale.
Our last post revealed three distinct attitudinal segments of business marketers, which came out of our research study with 200 individuals in leadership positions across 30 types of industries (85 percent of which are marketing leads for their organization). We explored their perceptions of their organization’s marketing strategy and marketing success, as well as how they approach marketing during unprecedented times.
In today’s post, we’ll dive into what types of marketing initiatives these organizations engage in, what unifies and separates these attitudinal segments from each other, and budget.
Digital Marketing Is a Must
When we asked our survey respondents to share which marketing initiatives their organizations will be pursuing in the next year, digital took the lead with social media marketing coming out on top. Here’s the breakdown of what types of digital marketing initiatives business marketers plan to engage in:
- Social media marketing—69 percent
- Online advertising—62 percent
- Marketing strategy—55 percent
- Email marketing and website development—50 percent
As far as marketing initiatives that are becoming less popular, fewer than one in five respondents say their organization plans to utilize programmatic media buying, out-of-home advertising, or artificial intelligence initiatives.
Deloitte’s latest Chief Marketing Officer survey provides even more context. Marketing leaders across the country say their organizations made the following investments to improve their digital marketing performance:
- 77.5 percent invested in data analytics
- 74 percent invested in optimizing their company’s website
- 70.9 percent invested in digital media and search engine optimization (SEO)
Although digital marketing is a clear favorite, it’s also an approach that requires a substantial investment from organizations. The statistics we uncovered further cemented what we already believed about marketing: If you don’t have a strategy-first mindset, whether that be for PR, digital advertising, or social media, then you’re wasting your money and time and you won’t get the results you’re after. You can’t start with tactics; you have to start with marketing strategy.
At Avocet, we approach this from a unique perspective. Not only do we ask clients what they’re challenging, but whom. From there, we ask them how they’re different so we can develop messaging that sets them apart from competitors. Other things we want to know that are essential to crafting a successful marketing strategy: How our clients are similar to their competitors; how they segment customers; how customers get through the sales funnel; and why customers buy from our clients in the first place.
Different Marketing Initiatives for Different Business Marketers
After conducting the research, three distinct types of marketers emerged.
#1: Accomplished Marketers
These respondents believe their organization gets marketing right because people within their company have the marketing know-how to achieve better outcomes. They appreciate their organization’s innovative, creative-marketing approach because they think outside the box.
#2: Anxious Strugglers
This group makes up the largest segment of our survey respondents. These business marketers worry about fluctuating economic conditions, changing buyer behavior, and talent shortages within the marketing field. Overall, they don’t think their organization’s marketing is as successful as it could be.
#3: Strategy Believers
This business marketer segment puts strategy front and center in their marketing approach. They believe it’s paramount to creative execution, and their dedication to strategy sets their organization apart from the competition.
Compared to the other two attitudinal segments, Anxious Strugglers are less likely to say their organization is pursuing any one of these marketing initiatives: social media marketing, online advertising, marketing strategy development, SEO, and brand storytelling.
On the other hand, Strategy Believers are more likely to say their organization is pursuing SEO and brand storytelling in the coming year.
What’s the takeaway here? Experience can be a great driver for strategic thinking. In some situations, lack of experience can result in tactically driven initiatives rather than strategies that drive tactics and success.
Don’t be afraid of taking a strategy-first approach. Embrace it because it should be a part of every conversation you have.
Welcoming outside perspectives is also key for gaining insight and creating opportunities you hadn’t thought of yet. Because brands get so close to what they do day in and day out, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hiring an outside marketing expert can help find the distinction that’s so essential in today’s crowded market. At Avocet, our approach is to question how things are done and to always look for the possibilities of what they could be—that’s key for engaging clients and customers.
Marketing Budgets: What Organizations Spend
Our survey found that one in three respondents’ organizations spend less than $100,000 per year on marketing. Additionally, one in four spend between $100,000-$250,000 per year. An interesting takeaway was that there weren’t any statistically significant differences between segments regarding their organization’s yearly marketing budgets or those budgets correlating with team size. Each segment had marketing budgets of all sizes.
When it comes to your organization’s marketing budget, ask yourself if you’re doing what you can with what you have while being efficient and effective. This is especially true for B2B marketers who often work with smaller budgets and who take an ABM approach. This means you must equip your sales team with the tools to succeed and move people through the funnel as well as giving your marketing team the tools they need to be agile. And part of agility is making sure your team is building first-party data so you can quickly pivot with your target audience’s changing needs or trends in the market.
Ask yourself: What are you doing to build your database so that your marketing dollars are working for you?
If you’re looking to improve your organization’s marketing approach, become more confident in your efforts, and stand out from others in the industry, stay tuned for our next post.
To learn more about each segments’ behaviors and the opportunities they present, check out our entire executive summary and webinar. And to further ignite your own marketing strategy, check out our podcast.