Marketing & Customer Experience Hub

B2B vs B2C – Are consumer marketers smarter spenders?

Budget cuts shouldn’t be too much of a concern for marketers

As the end of the financial year draws nearer, many marketers are already frantically trying to work out which activities to cut and which to add to their strategies for the coming year.

With trends showing that marketing budgets have been steadily increasing in recent years, especially for marketers looking to invest more heavily in digital, it seems that, these days, ‘budget cuts’ shouldn’t be too much of a concern for marketers.

B2B vs B2C

Business marketers vs consumer marketers

Even so, almost 60% of business-to-business (B2B) marketers, surveyed in our 2014 Emerging Trends in Digital Marketing report, cited ‘limited budgets’ as a major barrier to success – an increase of 23% on our 2013 report results. Even more surprising is that budgets don’t appear to be too much of a problem for business-to-consumer marketers (B2C), of whom only 34% listed budgets as challenge.

Delving further into our results, the differences between B2B and B2C marketer attitudes continue; B2B marketers were twice as likely to cite a ‘lack of executive support’ as a ‘major barrier to digital marketing investment’, compared to B2C marketers. 34% of B2B marketers listed ‘lack of executive support’ as a barrier to digital marketing investment, compared with only 14% of B2C marketers (down from 28% in 2013).

An unmistakably pessimistic tone seems to influence the responses of our B2B audience.

B2C marketers are enjoying larger budgets

On face value, the implication is that our B2C marketers are enjoying larger budgets and greater support from senior management than their B2B counter-parts… but is this genuinely the case? Are B2B marketers getting a raw deal, or is there an inherent difference in the mindset between these two industries?

The answer could lie in the different ways in which B2B and B2C marketers are investing their time and resources. For example, of the 80% of marketers planning to increase their digital spend in 2015, the overwhelming majority were B2C (89%).

B2B vs B2C spend graph

In addition, a combined total of 32% of B2B marketers admitted that they either don’t measure ROI at all or simply don’t utilise the information they’ve collected, in regards to campaign success. On the contrary, 41% of B2C marketers measure ROI specifically to influence future spend.

B2B vs B2C ROI graph

It also seems that, outside of digital marketing, B2C marketers are more likely to outsource activities perceived to be non-business critical and have a more customer-centric focus for their overall marketing strategies.

According to The State of Content Marketing – A Blueprint for Marketers, ADMA and EDGE, 2013, Australian B2C marketers (74%) outsource content more often than their B2B peers (54%) and B2B marketers cite brand awareness as their top content marketing goal (75%) while their B2C peers cite customer retention/loyalty (80%).

34% of B2B marketers listed ‘lack of executive support’ as a barrier to digital marketing investment, compared with only 14% of B2C marketers (down from 28% in 2013).

Summing it all up

So, to sum up, B2C marketers are more likely to invest in digital activities, track ROI on activities in order to determine where to invest in the future and tend to be more customer-centric in their approach, They’re also less likely to consider budget limitations or a ‘lack of executive support’ as barriers to success.

Coincidence? Or are our findings painting an unfair picture of B2B marketers? Post your thoughts in the comments to tell your side of the story. Alternatively, click on the link for the full Emerging Trends in Digital Marketing 2014 report.

Robert Holliday - VP Enablement Service - Greater Asia, Sitecore About Robert Holliday - VP Enablement Service - Greater Asia, Sitecore
As VP Enablement Service - Greater Asia at Sitecore, Robert is charged with driving strategy in collaboration with the local senior management teams responsible for Sales, Marketing, Customers and Alliances. Robert works closely with corporate and regional offices to implement and localise the global strategy to grow the business and ensure customer success with Sitecore's leading customer engagement platform.

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