Technology is evolving at a rapid pace (*massive cliché alert!*), providing marketers with new ways of engaging and understanding their buyers - but are they able to keep up?
Companies lack new tech agility
Nearly two thirds (63%) of marketers believe the martech landscape has rapidly evolved over the last 12 months and the majority feel their company has failed to keep up, according to the new 2018 State of Martech Report from Walker Sands.
Less than a quarter (23%) say their company’s martech is able to run at the same pace while just 15% describe their organisation as being very agile when it comes to embracing new technology.
As B2B Marketing notes, it isn’t all bad news. Marketers are still investing in martech and developing the necessary skill sets. Almost two thirds (65%) of respondents revealed plans to increase martech budgets in the next 12 months. While more than half (53%) say their tech skills are adequate, 41% describe their tech know-how as exceptional.
One of the biggest barriers to investing in new martech comes from internal resistance, as cited by 27% of marketers.
Increases in purchase cycle
B2B buyer preferences are continuing to evolve, with more and more buyers conducting their own research and involving more members in the decision-making process. It’s little wonder, then, that the length of the purchase cycle has increased.
While one in 10 feel the length has decreased somewhat, 31% say it has increased significantly, 30% feel it has somewhat increased, and 29% believe it has stayed the same.
So, what’s changed? When it comes to their purchase process, respondents revealed that they:
- Spend more time researching purchases (45%)
- Use more sources to research and evaluate purchases (45%)
- Have formal buying groups or committees to review potential purchases (44%)
- Conduct a more detailed ROI analysis prior to making a final decision (41%)
- Often accelerate or put purchase decisions on hold based on changing business needs/priorities (41%)
Marketers lacking essential future skills
The working world is facing a growing skills gap, and it seems the marketing sector isn’t immune.
The Professional Skills Census from the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) found that nearly half (49%) of marketers have not received training to help them adapt to the future direction of marketing.
Of those surveyed, only half currently undergo training in top priority skills, such as mobile marketing, marketing automation, analysing customer data, appraising employee performance, and optimising campaigns.
Speaking to B2B Marketing, MD of IDM, Jane Cave, commented: “In a fast-changing environment, it’s important for marketers and the businesses they work for that they continue to cultivate a range of skills.”
What’s the top B2B content mechanism?
Email may still be one of the most popular B2B content platforms, but it isn’t the top dog. According to research by Clutch, 71% of B2B readers first encounter content via email newsletters but this falls behind search engines (87%), social media (85%), and company websites (75%).
As Media Post reports, nearly half (45%) of B2B buyers read content to keep up to date with trends, 20% when deciding whether to purchase products or services, and 19% when researching products.
When it comes to the content they’ll consume, the most popular topics are technology (45%), small business (24%), workplace/personnel (21%), and marketing (12%).