In August 2017, Heinz Marketing and PFL conducted a study among B2B marketers to better understand the correlation between marketing channel mix, diversity and effectiveness. The results were stark.
Organizations who operate integrated marketing campaigns using both digital and non-digital channels report significantly higher satisfaction with their results compared to those managing digital-only channels, non-digital only channels or working those channels in silos.
And despite reporting generally higher pressure – both internally and from competitors – these marketers are significantly more likely to test new ideas, try new channels and operate them in a fully integrated environment.
Although more than 50 percent of marketers surveyed use both digital and non-digital channels, only 13 percent have those efforts truly integrated. Those with integrated campaigns were more likely to report overall campaign effectiveness and were more likely to have increased overall marketing investments over the past 1-2 years.
Other key findings from the Heinz/PFL 2018 Multichannel Marketing Effectiveness Report:
Nearly 60 percent of multichannel marketers spend less than half of their budget on digital channels, citing non-digital channels as key to their success and effectiveness Marketers at companies with greater than $200M annual revenue reported nearly a 3X higher effectiveness of their multichannel marketing efforts vs those with non-integrated campaigns Nearly 50 percent of multichannel marketers (47.4%) are utilizing sponsored content as a key component of their channel mix Events and trade shows remain the most widely used non-digital channel among all marketers surveyed Marketers using non-digital channels only were nearly three times as likely to operate those channels in silos (31.9% vs 11.6%) The vast majority of multichannel marketers (71.4%) plan to maintain or increase their use of direct mail into 2018 and beyond
The following pages go into greater detail on our findings and their implications for B2B marketers in 2018. We hope you find them useful as you prepare for the year ahead.
Sam Patterson Marketing Manager, PFL
Matt Heinz President, Heinz Marketing Inc
Our goal was to capture input from B2B marketers from a wide range of companies. We were excited to get a material number of sales executives as part of the study as well to better understand their perception of marketing channel diversity and effectiveness as well.
The majority of B2B marketers are using a mix of digital and non-digital channels, which is statistically consistent across company sizes except for those below one million in annual revenue. This matches with anecdotal feedback we’ve had from very small and start-up organizations that perceive non-digital channels as less effective and/or slower to execute.
Just because a particular channel is faster to execute doesn’t mean it’s better.
Also interesting to note that larger organizations tend to have a slightly higher usage of non-digital only marketing. Although we didn’t ask respondents to note their industry, we have found separately that larger, older and more “nuts and bolts” industries do tend to rely more heavily on non-digital marketing channels. As you will see, this is occasionally to their detriment.
Channel diversity itself is rarely enough – integration of those channels is what most often drives customer behavior and marketing results.
We were happy to see that the majority of marketers using both digital and non-digital channels (61.1%) also reported that their marketing efforts were somewhat or completely integrated. This correlates directly with their higher effectiveness rankings.
Also worth noting the significantly higher percentage of non-digital marketers who still operate their channels in silos. A lack of channel diversity combined with siloed execution has a direct correlation with the significantly lower effectiveness score that this cohort reported.
Add circles around middle and middle/right yellow bars, as well as the pink far left bar
In the first set of data:
Marketers integrating all channels (digital and non-digital) are more than twice as likely to report high marketing effectiveness vs those using fewer channels and lesser integration
Marketers who currently ignore non-digital marketing channels report less than half the effectiveness of marketing efforts vs those who integrate digital and non-digital together
We were happy to see the majority of marketers expanding their diversity of channels, with those using both digital and non-digital channels reporting the highest levels of channel diversity.
Note however the significantly lower level of channel diversification among those using non-digital only marketing channels. Fewer channels + more silos + less integration = significantly lower effectiveness.
The context in which marketers are operating today is becoming increasingly intense. The majority of respondents indicated high levels of competitive pressure, with four out of five respondents indicating that pressure has increased over the past year.
Most respondents indicated multiple perceived reasons for this increased pressure, the most common response was the perceived effectiveness of their competition’s marketing.
This may or may not be the most important factor driving competitive pressure, but it certainly in may markets is the most visible. And as marketers see the increased channel diversification and integration of their competitors, we expect that to increase responsive behavior as well.
At the end of the day, it call comes down to this. None of the variables we’ve discussed matter unless they are effective. And consistently across the board, our research has found that those marketers who mix digital and non-digital report significantly higher effectiveness of their marketing efforts vs. peers who are less diverse and/or integrated in their efforts.
Interesting to note that those operating non-digital only channels report half the effectiveness of their integrated counterparts. And the data behind this research confirms that channel diversification plus better integration and orchestration of those efforts together is a key driver of effectiveness.
Among those marketers using the most diverse and integrated channel mixes, they reported spending a higher percentage of their budget on non-digital channels. This isn’t surprising given the relative cost of non-digital channels in general, but it’s also a warning to those who may prefer cheaper and “more operationally efficient” online channels.
Cost efficiency does not directly correlate with effectiveness. Those marketers who reported the highest levels of effectiveness in this study also were not afraid to spend money to make money.
Among digital channels, it’s no surprise to see email at the top. What’s fascinating here however is the wide gaps between usage and perceived effectiveness at a channel level. Even those marketers who report high levels of effectiveness for integrated campaigns are generally unsatisfied with the siloed impact of their marketing channels.
This further speaks to the danger of managing marketing at a channel level specifically. This research proves that channel diversity and integration are key to success, and yet B2B marketers continue to manage and evaluate on an individual channel level.
Also interesting to note the wide gap between usage and effectiveness of sponsored content, a channel that has been hot of late but clearly is not delivering impact on its own yet.
The clear winner among non-digital channels (both in terms of usage and effectiveness) is events and trade shows. Also worth noting that this is the one “channel” among non-digital and digital channels that offers the most diversification in and of itself.
Many marketers correlate events with “the booth” and yet most of the channels referenced throughout this study can be leveraged in an integrated way to support events. That may be one reason why the effectiveness rating for events is so high in this study.
Direct mail is further down the list in usage, but we have seen a direct correlation between those using direct mail in integrated campaigns and higher effectiveness ratings of marketing impact overall.
In the second set of data:
Marketers using direct mail report higher overall effectiveness of their marketing vs every other non-digital channel measured
-Title: Non-digital channels driving the highest effectiveness
Without seeing the results of this study, nearly 50 percent of respondents still indicated they wanted to try adding direct mail to their marketing mix in the near future. Interesting to further note that growth-stage companies are significantly more likely to add direct mail as they accelerate desired results in the months ahead.
As you plan and execute your own marketing efforts in 2018, the implications from this study are straightforward:
Prioritize Integration: Operating in siloes simply does not work, and does not compound into the level of marketing results you need. Work harder to coordinate efforts across marketing channels to accelerate impact. Prioritize Diversity & Orchestration: With an integration of message and approach, work to further diversity your channel mix and orchestrate how, where and when those channels hit your customers and prospects. Diversity and integration are important, but timing is key. Focus on Revenue Results: There’s a big difference between your operational metrics and your management scorecard. Manage your marketing based on sales and revenue impact, not just on clicks, likes and cost-per-lead optics at an individual channel level. Integrate Sales Too: To further accelerate the impact of this study, consider your sales channels as part of your marketing mix. How can you integrate, orchestrate and diversity those efforts to increase overall effectiveness?