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Study: B-to-B Digital Advertising Not Optimized

Almost 90% of B-to-B marketers say their digital marketing mix isn’t optimized, according to a new survey from Demandbase in conjunction with Wakefield Research. In addition, 71% said their company’s digital advertising frequently fails to meet expectations, and 96% of respondents attribute that failure to their digital advertising reaching a significant number of people outside of their intended target.

“Enterprises have realized the potential of digital marketing and are now allocating more and more marketing dollars toward it,” said Demandbase CMO Peter Isaacson in an official announcement regarding the study. “However, almost three quarters of B-to-B marketers surveyed find that their digital advertising frequently fails to meet their expectations. We found this disconnect fascinating; marketers are continuing to put money into programs while struggling to prove the impact.”

Demandbase, an account-based marketing platform, conducted the Ad Waste Survey among 500 B-to-B marketers at the manager level or higher between February 3 and 12 using an email invitation and online survey. The marketers were selected from companies with 250 or more employees.

While a January 2015 poll by digital marketing company Regalix found that 52% of B-to-B marketers in North America plan to put more than half of their overall marketing budgets toward digital, the Ad Waste survey indicates that most respondents know they’re not getting enough bang for their buck, and that variations in their strategies would most likely result in better ROI.

“B-to-B marketers are realizing that while their digital advertising strategy may be reaching a large audience, it’s not necessarily delivering the right results,” Isaacson said. “This ad waste dilemma isn’t new – most companies know that they are wasting a significant part of their digital ad dollars, but the problem is they don’t know which part.”

The survey broke down the three main challenges that B-to-B marketers face: 46% said difficulty in measuring ROI; 44% said a too-long sales cycle; and 42% cited a lack of quality leads.

In terms of marketing mix, 25% use website marketing and SEO; 21% use direct response, including SEM, webinars, email, social media and content; 18% use mobile; 17% use display and native ads; and 16% use video.

Website/SEO was the channel with the most respondents predicting an increase in investment for 2016 (63%) followed by mobile (57%). The survey also found that more than half of the respondents measure success by conversion rates and cost per impression, metrics more suited for B-to-C campaigns.

“B-to-B marketers need to adjust their strategy away from B-to-C best practices and look at B-to-B-focused solutions that can deliver more effective advertising, personalization and sales programs to the specific accounts that will really deliver business results,” Isaacson said.