Relevance noun | rel-e-vance | 1 the quality or state of being closely connected or appropriate. 2 The most important attribute of successful marketing programs.*
By definition (*ours), Relevance is critical to marketing success in today’s hyperconnected yet heavily-filtered world. That’s why it’s troubling to see B2B companies increasingly have to go-to-market without the time or budget necessary to conduct and apply the research it takes to understand the intimacies of their buyers and the intricacies of their journeys.
Which made us wonder: If B2B marketers aren’t basing decisions pertaining to introducing new products, designing digital experiences, creating campaigns, and executing marketing growth strategies on up-to-date research and insights, then how ARE they making decisions – and how effective are they? What are the gaps and obstacles that prevent them from conducting the research that would inform better decisions and drive surer results?
These were the key questions SCHERMER set out to answer in our 2019 Marketing Decision-Making Survey. From the responses of the 160 senior B2B marketing professionals who completed the survey (60% in companies over 1,000 employees), we authored a report that illuminates barriers and illustrates insights for better B2B marketing decisions. This article is a brief synopsis of the report, so we invite you to download the entire 17 page report here. (no info req’d / no spam afterwards, promise!)
As you can see from the survey results above, B2B marketers know that understanding their buyers is critical, but the vast majority don’t think that their companies actually understand of them. That’s a big gap – and a huge problem that is either overlooked or ignored.
Furthermore, not only do marketers face barriers when trying to gain the knowledge and insights that buyer research can yield, but overall, they reported being very dissatisfied with the quality of their company’s marketing decisions.
The survey results and our resulting report offers B2B marketers relatively easy steps to overcome the barriers they face and increase their satisfaction with the state of their marketing decision-making. By doing so, marketers can help transform their companies from “In-the-Dark Institutions” into “Enlightened Enterprises,” those companies whose marketers are not only happy with the quality of their marketing decisions, but equipped and empowered by their understanding of their markets, competitors, and buyers.
Now, let’s examine the 5 Barriers to Effective Decision Making.
Respondents cited time constraints as a key barrier to leveraging new knowledge and research insights to aid decisions. The report shares how they can overcome the constraints of time by using the channels, data and contacts they already own.
Respondents cited budget constraints as a key barrier to leveraging new knowledge and research insights to aid decision-making. The report shares how to use free analytics & insights tools, easy-access VOC efforts, and social media to conduct inexpensive listening and learning.
Study respondents indicated that they believe it is worth the investment of time and money in research to feel confident about certain decisions, including the decisions that go into creating a website experience. The report shows how a buyer-centric website is a sure-fire way to take pressure off of a sales department, accelerate lead generation and nurturing, and establish or support a leadership position in your category.
Respondents cite the complexity of the B2B buying journey as a barrier to leveraging new knowledge and research insights to aid decisions. The report shows how allocating resources toward performing buyer-driven research—and toward buyer-centric campaigns and experiences—will help achieve important improvements in buyer relevance, even if the overall buying journey is complex.
Respondents identified the following top three obstacles to faster decision-making in their organizations: 1. Too many decision-makers (63%), 2. Lots of bureaucracy (63%), and 3. Lack of clear objectives (35%). The report shares simple steps to take that can greatly increase the chance of bringing those leaders on board with buyer-focused, data-driven marketing.
B2B Marketing professionals will benefit from seeing the state of B2B Marketing Decision Making in companies like their own, plus ideas for addressing the five barriers we found that inhibit their ability from making insightful and impactful decisions. Plus, we share our vision of a Continuous Learning Loop, a methodology organizations can employ to help them transform from In-the-Dark Institutions to Enlightened Enterprises.
Please download and share the report with others to help them become “enlightened” too!
Shout out to Report authors Mariann Hohe, VP Strategy & Planning and Jennifer Manion, Director Content Strategy for their efforts on this survey, report & article.