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10 Ways B2B Marketing is Changing in APAC

Key Insights from Modern marketing in APAC 2022 by WARC and MMA Global
As businesses are moving towards a digital native future, B2B marketing needs to keep pace. Therefore, the digital side of marketing has seen a surge in the recent few years, a consensus claimed by in-house brand marketers as well as agencies. While the need to go digital in B2B marketing is agreed upon, there are still questions around how to modernize the marketing strategy, with concerns around the new objectives, budget allocations, barriers and the need for new capabilities.

Santanu Ganguly
Chief Executive Officer
StrategINK

Based on responses from 700+ marketing professionals, WARC and MMA Global have collected key insights on how the landscape of marketing is continually changing and its impact on the priorities, technology adoption for marketing, budgets as well as the current trends and future opportunities. We have created this quick read to illustrate the top findings about the changing spectrum of B2B marketing for the near future.

Click to enlarge
Current Landscape

  • 66% see brand awareness as the top digital marketing priority
  • 49% have used YouTube for display ads
  • Over 40% budgets allocated to digital marketing for almost half respondents
  • 27% of marketing budget is spent on social channels
  • 74% brands have used influencer marketing in past 12 months
  • 63% use engagement as the top metric to gauge marketing effectiveness

Challenges and Future Opportunities

  • 7 out of 10 believe that up to 25% of the budget will be invested in marketing technology
  • Web 3.0 and Metaverse will impact future of marketing
  • 79% are using data analytics for marketing improvements; 46% claim to increase AI/ML use for marketing
  • Measurements and skills are the biggest barriers for effective marketing

66% see brand awareness as the top digital marketing priority

While defining objectives, both marketers and agencies believe that building brand awareness is one of the key priorities for marketing across the B2B and the B2C space. This is closely followed by generating sales and leads for 57% of the respondents. This clearly illustrates that marketing is being seen as one of the most effective ways of brand building and lead generation focused on getting the mindspace and attention of potential customers. Some of the other marketing priorities include, increasing market share, using data more successfully, building customer loyalty, etc.

49% have used YouTube for display ads

With a focus on brand awareness, B2B marketing is increasingly relying on display ads, particularly on YouTube. However, when it comes to partnerships or influencer marketing, TikTok, Instagram and Facebook are the preferred channels. While display ads are currently at the top, the marketing trends have shown a sharp increase in the popularity and adoption of influencer marketing across APAC, and many B2B and B2C brands are leveraging influencers to promote their offerings.

Over 40% budgets allocated to digital marketing for almost half respondents

The intention of reaping benefits from marketing for B2B growth is rapidly translating to commitments in the form of sizable budgetary allocations. More than half of the respondents claim that 40% of their budgets are committed towards digital marketing, with over 1/4th committing over 60% of the budgets. Additionally, a positive trend observed also illustrates a potential upside to this commitment, where 69% see a decent growth in the advertising budgets over the next 12 months. This clearly highlights that B2B marketing is ripe for investments today, a trend likely to grow rapidly.

27% of marketing budget is spent on social channels

An increase in marketing budgets comes with an unsurprising allocation with over 1/4th of the budget going towards social networks and channels. Videos and search are close in the line with 20% and 17% budget allocations respectively. With an increasing social presence for both consumers and businesses, marketing on social channels makes it a value driven spend.

74% brands have used influencer marketing in past 12 months

With a focus on social channels, influencer marketing has been on the rise. B2B as well as B2C companies are engaging influencers in their space to create brand awareness and generate leads.

63% use engagement as the top metric to gauge marketing effectiveness

Aligned with the top marketing priority of building brand awareness, businesses are gauging marketing effectiveness by measuring the engagement it is able to generate. However, a major concern for using engagement as a metric is the inability to capture the impact of marketing on hard sales and on the bottom line. Invariably, 55% of businesses are now mapping the outcomes of their B2B marketing efforts against business outcomes of sales, lower customer acquisition costs, etc.

7 out of 10 believe that up to 25% of the budget will be invested in marketing technology

Many organizations are seeing a convergence between marketing and technology. While around 70% believe that the budget will be in the range of 0-25%, 10% believe that over half of the budget will be diverted towards marketing technology. This line of investment will require synergistic alliances between the IT and the marketing teams to unleash creativity. However, relevant skills and the ability to collaborate continues to be a roadblock in achieving such mutual benefits.

Web 3.0 and Metaverse will impact future of marketing

The commitment to investments in marketing technology are being translated to adoption and preparation for adoption of Web 3.0 and Metaverse for marketing. Half of the respondents claim to already be preparing for Web 3.0 while working on their marketing strategy. Web 3.0 will unleash a whole new pandora of opportunities for marketers to understand the preferences and expectations of their target audiences. Additionally, 57% agree that Metaverse will influence and impact digital marketing in the next 5 years, leading to a corresponding allocation of budget investments.

79% are using data analytics for marketing improvements; 46% claim to increase AI/ML use for marketing

At present, data analytics is being seen as one of the best technological interventions for marketing innovations. Businesses see data analytics as a way to know their target audience better, leading to potential increase in customer data analysis. While currently, the adoption of AI and ML stands at 19%, the future for the same looks bright. 46% businesses see an increase in AI/ML adoption for marketing purposes in the next 2 years, closely followed by AR/VR for 41%.

Measurements and skills are the biggest barriers for effective marketing

Finally, the two biggest barriers or challenges that businesses are facing come in the form of measurement and metrics as well as the skills gap, with almost 1/3rd respondents claiming for each of these. While there are specific metrics that marketers are using, there is still a lack of confidence in their effectiveness and utility. Surprisingly, despite it being seens as a challenge, only 5% of businesses are making efforts to address the same. On the skills front, with new trends shaping up everyday, businesses are continually facing a lack of right digital skills in their marketing team, making upskilling an important priority.

Key takeaways

To conclude, it is evident that the landscape of marketing is changing rapidly with the unleashing of digital natives in the B2B and the B2C space. To facilitate impact driven B2B marketing, business must:

  • Facilitate adoption of AI/ML and AR/VR to ensure their marketing is forward looking
  • Leverage avenues for influencer marketing, especially on social channels
  • Evaluate the impact and potential of Web 3.0 and Metaverse in their industry
  • Create or adopt value driven metrics which can help define impact of marketing on the bottom line
  • Encourage upskilling for their marketing professionals to ensure relevance

Undoubtedly, businesses need to keep pace with the changing marketing priorities making digital a leading aspect of the way they market and represent themselves out there.

Stay tuned to this space for more insights on how B2B marketing is changing and how you can keep pace with the dynamic trends to capitalize on opportunities and bridge the challenges.

This article is based on inputs from Modern marketing in APAC 2022 by WARC and MMA Global. The complete report can be found at:
https://www.warc.com/content/article/Warc-Data/State_of_the_Industry_2022_Modern_marketing_in_APAC/148129

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this feature article are of the author. This is not meant to be an advisory to purchase or invest in products, services or solutions of a particular type or, those promoted and sold by a particular company, their legal subsidiary in India or their channel partners. No warranty or any other liability is either expressed or implied.
Reproduction or Copying in part or whole is not permitted unless approved by author.

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