2019 Demand Generation Benchmark Survey
Growing Investment Into Revenue Creation Fuels Adoption Of New Tactics & Tech For Campaign Analysis, Account Targeting And Nurture Initiatives
Last year, it was clear that B2B marketers were expected to support revenue growth as their goals and expectations from senior leadership continued to rise and account-based strategies grew in popularity. However, minimal increases in investment towards the right account acquisition, nurturing and pipeline strategies hindered chances of further development and growth in those initiatives.
This year’s Demand Generation Benchmark Survey showed that larger chunks of marketing budgets are now being allocated to demand generation initiatives and ABM adoption as the continued goal to drive more revenue grows at an alarming rate. Close to three-quarters (71%) said that their demand generation budget will increase in 2019 — similar year-over-year. Of these, close to half (46%) said that their demand gen budget will increase by 20% or more, up from 32% in 2018. Close to half of respondents (46%) also said that they plan to test or deploy ABM solutions — which was ultimately the top tech priority.
This is a good sign, since revenue projections continue to grow for B2B companies. The majority (97%) are projecting that their total revenue growth will increase in 2019. Of that, 43% are projecting an increase between 1% and 10% — a 10% increase year-over-year. One-third (33%) said it would increase by more than 20%, down from 38% in 2018, and 21% said it would increase by more than 30%, compared to 25% last year. This could possibly signal that revenue goals last year were difficult to achieve with the given resources.
How will your demand generation budget change in 2019?
Given that deeper investment is being supplied for demand generation initiatives, marketers can be better positioned to meet constantly growing revenue goals by focusing on better enabling themselves to tie marketing initiatives to revenue. Specific findings from the survey supporting this include:
The survey findings in this report will share an in-depth perspective of how this deeper investment in demand generation will impact B2B marketing initiatives, including how:
More than half (53%) have some form of revenue-based quotas, while 20% still have lead-based quotas.
The tools being tested and deployed by marketers are aiming to garner deeper insights into target accounts and nurturing efforts.
30% said the primary metrics they are measured on are MQLs/SALs, while 24% are measured on marketing-sourced revenue and 19% are measured on pipeline influenced.
Only 21% of companies can source more than 50% of their annual revenue to marketing.
Close to half (42%) plan to measure campaign attribution and influence within the next 12 months.
Demand gen priorities are leaning towards better campaign analysis to understand how demand is impacting the bottom line.
Engagement tactics such as content syndication and videos are seeing greater success driving leads into the top of the funnel.
Marketing through channels such as in-person events, social, online ads and retargeting are creating more demand when and where buyers are actively researching purchase decisions.
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What is the primary metric you are measured on?
said that their demand gen budget will increase by 20% or more, up from 32% in 2018.
When asked what their demand gen priorities were for 2019, it’s clear that respondents are looking to better understand their contribution to business goals by focusing on better understanding campaign performance. Improving conversion rates/campaign results was the top priority for respondents (68%). Two-thirds (66%) said that improving their ability to measure and analyze marketing impact was a top priority.
This is vital for marketing teams looking to tie marketing initiatives to earned revenue. The survey showed that 47% are actively measuring campaign attribution and influence, down from 53% in 2018. Roughly 42% said they plan to measure campaign attribution and influence within the next 12 months, compared to 36% last year.
Generating the right contacts/stakeholders at target accounts was another top priority for 62% of respondents, highlighting how demand generation efforts are expected to supplement ABM initiatives. Finding the right balance of demand generation and targeted account-based plays will be an ongoing challenge for marketers.
More than half (59%) said that expanding their content library to drive campaigns was a top priority, signaling a need for the right messaging to bring leads into the pipeline. However, the survey showed that most respondents had inaccurate personas — a red flag for businesses looking to create content for their target audience. More than a quarter (26%) of respondents said that their personas are not well aligned with their content and messaging, while another 25% said that it has been two-to-three years since they’ve refreshed their personas.
Other demand gen priorities for marketers in 2019 include:
One respondent shared an open-ended response that said they are planning to “move away from triggered programming to customer-initiated action and move away from leads to buying groups and their needs.” It’s clear respondents are looking to prioritize the needs of their customers and serve the buyer group to accelerate conversions.
Measuring Marketing Impact, Campaign Results Top Priorities
Improving marketing and sales alignment (59%)
Focusing on lead quality over quantity (58%)
Leveraging intent/signal data to identify new opportunities (42%)
Improving the depth and accuracy of their database (49%)
Rank your organization’s demand generation priorities for 2019.
said that improving their ability to measure and analyze marketing impact was a top priority.
The survey showed that plans for piloting and deploying technology align with respondents’ demand gen priorities. Close to half (46%) plan to test ABM tools, while 38% plan to test multichannel lead nurturing tools to gain better insight into campaign performance. Many ABM
tools in the space offer features and functionalities to help better understand the effectiveness of campaigns and plays, aligning with respondents’ priorities to understand how marketing efforts are impacting purchase decisions.
A little more than one-third (34%) of respondents said that they plan to test content planning, syndication and measurement tools in 2019. This makes sense, given that insights into content engagement can provide actionable talking points for marketing and development reps to base messaging around — positioning teams to accelerate pipeline. It also provides deeper knowledge on who is engaging, enabling teams to better understand their personas as they evolve and then tie that engagement to revenue later in the sales process. Content syndication, in particular, positions companies to go to where their buyers are and engage them in their own habitat.
Other notable technology respondents plan to test and deploy in 2019 include:
ABM, Campaign Monitoring Tools Top Tech For Testing, Deployment
Hover over the boxes to view data.
Which tools are you planning to test and/or deploy in 2019?
The deployment of data-focused tools highlights a primary challenge within marketing teams to have the right data to engage prospective customers. When asked how they would describe their current database performance and capabilities, only 11% said that their database is current and provides complete coverage of their key segments. While 34% said that they are actively reviewing their database to ensure they have full and complete contacts, more than half (53%) said they have many contacts that are incomplete or inaccurate, or that their database is not adequate in covering their target markets.
As for new options available to respondents this year, 34% said they plan to test and deploy signal/intent data in 2019. This insight can help marketers achieve their top priority of increasing conversion rates by identifying and engaging leads when they are in the process of researching a purchase decision. Other new options include chatbots and SMS/MMS, which are being tested by 22% and 8% of respondents, respectively.
plan to test ABM tools, while 38% plan to test multichannel lead nurturing tools to gain better insight into campaign performance.
Deeper investment into demand gen initiatives positions marketing teams to invest in engagement tactics that saw notable success for them in the past year. In-person events (76%), lead nurturing campaigns (58%) and webinars (58%) continue to be the top three successful engagement tactics for respondents at the top of the funnel, which is even year-over-year. However, several emerging tactics are gaining popularity due to the success respondents have seen. Content syndication, in particular, is considered a successful tactic by 30% of respondents, up from 24% in 2018. The practice is unique because it is helping companies expand their watering holes to generate new demand from new places. Expanding their total addressable market via syndication creates even more opportunities to drive top-of-funnel demand.
Videos are becoming the preferable content medium, and tech is advancing to make it easier to view engagement, which can explain why 38% of respondents said videos have been successful for their early stage demand gen efforts. Case studies saw a notable drop in popularity, with 40% saying it was a successful engagement tactic at the top of the funnel compared to 50% in 2018. This can be attributed to the content type’s flexibility within the funnel, being that use case examples
can be valuable to buyers in the mid-to-late stage of their purchase decision. When asked what engagement tactics were successful later in the funnel, case studies were considered one of the top tactics by 63% of respondents.
Other notable early stage engagement tactics respondents are seeing success with include:
As for some write-in responses to this question, several respondents noted that “telemarketing, direct mail” and “word-of-mouth referrals” have been successful for them in the early stage of the funnel. This can be attributed to the more personal nature of these strategies to build a relationship with prospects. Referrals, in particular, has been an ongoing trend in the B2B marketplace as an adequate source for buyers to gain insight for purchase decisions.
Content Syndication Emerges As Successful Demand Gen Tactic
Content bundles (21%)
Buying guides (13%)
ROI calculators (8%)
Which engagement tactics were most successful for you in 2018 in terms of generating qualified leads for the top of the funnel?
In 2018, which tactics were most successful in helping to convert and accelerate leads at middle and late stages of the funnel?
Content syndication, in particular, is considered a successful tactic by 30% of respondents, up from 24% in 2018.
When asked about the channels respondents were using to drive demand, the top three were email (54%), the company website (48%) and in-person events (47%). Events were included as a new answer choice due to repeated open-ended responses in last year’s survey — and it’s clear 1:1 facetime with prospects is valuable to building relationships.
One notable finding is that in-person events were considered successful channels for engaging prospects throughout the entire funnel. Of the 47% that said it was one of their top-three channels, 46% said it was the most effective at driving early stage engagement, while 44% said it was the most effective at driving conversion later in the funnel. Alongside email, it was one of the most consistent channels throughout the sales funnel.
Search was another strong channel for respondents, with 40% saying it was one of the top-three channels they use to drive demand. Of those respondents, 42% said that it was one of their most successful channels.
Other notable, channel-specific findings include:
Specifically, in the later stage of the sales funnel, product demos were also considered a successful channel to drive conversion. Forty-percent of respondents said that product demos were one of their most successful channels later in the funnel.
In-Person Events Seeing Renewed Success As A Full-Funnel Engagement Channel
Of the 34% that said social was one of their top channels, 37% said it was one of their top-three most successful channels in the early stage of the funnel, while 16% said it was most successful at the later stage.
Of the 21% that said online ads were one of their top channels, 23% said it was one of their top-three most successful channels in the early stage of the funnel, while 7% said it was most successful at the later stage.
Of the 16% that said phone calls were one of their top channels, 13% said it was one of their top-three most successful channels in the early stage of the funnel while 37% said it was most successful at the later stage.
Which channels have been the most effective in driving early-stage engagement?
Of the 47% that said in-person events were one of their top-three channels, 46% said it was the most effective at driving early stage engagement, while 44% said it was the most effective at driving conversion later in the funnel.
25% said they make less than $10 million.
The 2019 Demand Generation Benchmark Survey collected responses from more than 150 B2B marketing practitioners, with most respondents based in the United States.
Exactly half (50%) of respondents said they work in the software/technology industry, while 12% said they work in the business services/consulting realm. Other industries, represented by less than 5% a piece, include financial services, retail, manufacturing, telecom and healthcare.
When asked to share company annual revenue:
About The Survey
27% said they make between $10 million and $50 million.
10% said they make between $50 million and $100 million.
21% said they make between $100 million and $500 million.
1% said they make between $500 million and $1 billion.
16% said they make more than $1 billion.
What is your company’s annual revenue?
Content4Demand (C4D) is a business-to-business content strategy and content creation agency. Our team of content marketing experts specializes in two main areas: creating turnkey content to reach B2B buyers at all stages of the buyer’s journey and developing foundational marketing strategies including persona creation, content messaging development and nurture campaign design. Our ultimate goal is to construct buyer-focused content and marketing strategies that drive leads and stimulate demand for your business. C4D works with B2B companies across a variety of industry verticals including: technology, financial, manufacturing, media, healthcare and more. For more information and content samples, visit content4demand.com.
Demandbase is the leader in Account-Based Marketing (ABM). The company offers the only Artificial Intelligence-enabled, comprehensive ABM platform that spans Advertising, Marketing, Sales and Analytics. Enterprise leaders and high-growth companies such as Accenture, Adobe, DocuSign, GE, Grainger, Salesforce and others use Demandbase to drive their ABM strategy and maximize their marketing performance. The company was named a Gartner Cool Vendor for Tech Go-To Market in 2016. For more information, please visit demandbase.com or follow the company on Twitter @Demandbase.
Salesforce Pardot is smarter marketing automation on the world's #1 CRM. With Pardot, B2B marketers can find and nurture leads, close more deals, and maximize ROI. Salesforce Pardot gives you the power to engage with quality leads at every stage in the sales cycle, and you'll never let a cold lead slip through the cracks. Pardot makes it easy to build intelligent nurture campaigns and smoothly pass leads between marketing and sales, and with Pardot's native data analytics dashboards you'll always know how your marketing impacts your business.
Demand Gen Report is a targeted online publication that uncovers the strategies and solutions that help companies better align their sales and marketing organizations, and ultimately, drive growth. A key component of the publication’s editorial coverage focuses on the sales and marketing automation tools that enable companies to better measure and manage their multi-channel demand generation efforts.
2018 Demand Generation Benchmark Survey Report
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Brian Anderson is an avid B2B journalist with a knack for all things trendy in the demand generation, account-based marketing, artificial intelligence and database management space.