Competent corporate marketers are always on the look out for new data. On a daily basis, technology changes, updates are made, and very quickly, the data you thought was reliable is already obsolete. That’s why we see market research companies in business; everybody needs data, and few companies are prepared to generate it themselves. In an age where information is nearly everywhere, companies like Nielsen and Ipsos are doing surprisingly well. Why? Because marketers at every company don’t just want general information; they want industry-specific, well-researched marketing insights based in hard data.
Public Resources for Marketing Trends
If you fall into this group—as I do—I’m willing to bet you’ve read your share of recent digital marketing reports. You’ve probably seen the results that companies have reported with pay-per-click advertising on Google and the huge impact SEO and social media have had in building companies’ sales. But where is the data for relating these trends to your company? Presidents and CEOs want to invest in marketing that has low risk and high rewards, but it’s not always easy to find cheap data that clearly shows marketing methods’ potential.
In fact, a big frustration for business-to-business (B2B) marketers is that when data on important areas like SEO is publicly available from large market research companies, it often focuses on B2C trends, showing few statistics for developments in the B2B sphere.
Consider this consumer behavior report on mobile browsing, published earlier this year by Think with Google – the search engine giant’s marketing insights arm. Called “Mobile Path to Purchase: Five Key Findings,” I opened the report thinking that it might have valuable insights for building a new mobile marketing strategy. Overall, it is a well-structured report, with original research by Nielsen and easy-to-understand data visualization that makes it pleasing to read. The headline data point is this: 59% of consumers visited a business website via smartphone when thinking about a purchase. A related point is that people who eventual make a purchase visit the site an average of 6 times—all via smartphone.
Where are my B2B, industry-focused trends?
A great stat! It made me want to read further and understand more. But almost immediately, I realized a problem. This research focuses on general consumers. There’s no consideration for the characteristics of the sale or the kind of products/services the mobile user is interested in.
In other words, it’s a broad, inclusive B2C study—as most of the publicly available information out there is. Think with Google and other insight collections have sections for B2B, but it’s often the smallest section. Think with Google only has about 1 study per year in the B2B category, so B2B readers are pushed toward relevant B2C studies, like “The Mobile Path to Purchase” instead. If you’re a B2B marketer, you’re probably used to this. Current insights research has us interpreting B2C information for B2B use, rather than understanding our industries in full scope.
To me, this is an important barrier to why many marketers can’t quite sell new marketing techniques to their bosses. Whether it’s the choice to invest in a new mobile-responsive website or to adopt a focused Inbound Marketing strategy, there is a growing translation barrier because marketing heads don’t always have the industry-wide data to show digital marketing is a smart B2B move.
How Inbound Marketing offers new B2B resources
Luckily…this is starting to change with Inbound Marketing. Successful agencies that focus on B2B lead generation aim to collect professionally researched data on the B2B value of social media, SEO, email, etc. and drive this information to our followers.
The value is that by providing usable information, companies can begin to openly think about weaknesses in their marketing strategies and holes in their current technology structure. One big resource we use for this is HubSpot, which has grown its value beyond marketing software by generating new research for B2B marketers. For example, did you know this handy number? “Companies with over 50 employees and 1000+ web pages see 9.5x more traffic than companies with under 51 employees” (HubSpot, Marketing Benchmarks from 7,000 Companies, 2011). Now that’s usable information! It shows why digital marketing methods like blogging and landing page creation might be helpful. It also demonstrates why Inbound Marketing sees employees as a fundamental marketing resource; they make web pages work harder for your brand by sharing on social media and in emailed links.
More likely than not, B2B marketing insights will continue to be less represented in free spaces than B2C data because the latter has a broader reach across many industries. B2C sales are also faster, easier to track, and closer to the forefront of researcher’s minds. But, there’s no need to keep B2B in the dark. With the growth of content marketing and new data visualization, agencies like ours aim to reduce the industry-wide translation barrier for company VPs and CEOs that need to see the clear advantages in various tactics. If you can’t find the statistics you want or trends you need to create a better marketing strategy, reaching out to marketing agencies—people in the game of marketing data—is always an option. Yes, every once in a while, you might be offered a sales pitch or two, but they also have the data resources you need to make B2B marketing work.