Fifth of B2B marketers say proving effectiveness is their ‘biggest challenge’

Meanwhile, one third of B2B marketers plan to cut their investment into brand building over the next six months, according to new data from LinkedIn.

Source: Shutterstock

Measuring campaign effectiveness and proving the return on investment (ROI) of marketing spend is the biggest challenge facing B2B marketers globally at present, with 21% identifying this as their top concern, according to new research from LinkedIn.

Carried out last month, LinkedIn’s global B2B Marketer Sentiment Study reveals approximately half of the 1,700 senior marketing decision makers surveyed say their budgets have been impacted in some way by the current economic situation.

Around three in 10 of those who have seen their budgets impacted say the business they work for does not understand B2B marketing ROI.

Last month, Marketing Week’s Language of Effectiveness survey found almost half of 1,610 B2B and B2C marketers (48.4%) say ROI is the most important metric for their CEO, CFO and other board members when it comes to demonstrating the impact of marketing. However, LinkedIn’s research suggests a communication barrier in some B2B firms. How making finance a ‘strategic partner’ of marketing has benefited one B2B brand

“It is clear that the biggest challenge facing marketers right now is proving marketing ROI to the business, which is crucial to strengthening future budgets,” says LinkedIn Marketing Solutions’ EMEA and LATAM senior director, Tom Pepper.

“There is a strong need for more education around marketing effectiveness so the true value that B2B marketers deliver is clearly understood.”

Spending boost for brand building

Meanwhile, although almost eight in 10 B2B marketers globally (76%) feel confident about their marketing strategy for the next six months, this number drops significantly when looking at the UK. Only 56% of B2B marketers in the UK feel confident about their strategy, compared to over nine in 10 marketers in the US (91%).

According to the research, brand building is the area marketers are most keen to invest in over the next half year. The majority of respondents (67%) plan to increase or maintain their brand spend over the next six months, citing its ability to drive long-term sales (52%) and to keep a brand top of mind for buyers (42%) as their top reasons for doing so.

However, a third of B2B marketers  will cut spend on brand over the next six months.How three B2B marketing bosses are making the case for brand investment

While the macro-environment is causing businesses to think carefully about their spending, over a quarter (28%) of B2B marketers are also taking this opportunity to build relationships and trust with customers. Four in 10 of those surveyed say the focus of their campaigns over the next six months will be to demonstrate how their company is helping customers.

Creativity is the most important skill needed to navigate these uncertain times, say 56% of the marketers surveyed. Previous research from LinkedIn suggests the B2B marketing industry is becoming more confident in its creative skills, with 82% of marketers globally agreeing creative confidence is growing. However, in the UK only 59% of B2B marketers agreed, the lowest figure of all the countries included.