Business-to-business (B2B) marketers are already looking ahead to 2014, and the outlook for the year seems positive. The Sagefrog Marketing Group surveyed US B2B marketing and management professionals from a cross-section of industries in the summer of 2013 and found that 45% of respondents expected to see an increase in budgets in the next year, while 52% thought their outlays would remain the same.
The top four most popular marketing channels for B2Bs were all digital, according to the survey. Websites were the most uniformly employed technique, used by 85% of those polled. Email marketing was second at 72%, followed by social media (67%) and search engine optimization (56%). Just under half of respondents relied on trade shows, while four in 10 used direct marketing.
Eighty-four percent of B2B marketers used social networks this year, up from 79% in 2012, while both blogs and microblogs saw a decline in B2B use this year. Photo sharing also saw a precipitous decline over the last year. Video sharing, however, continued its growth trend, in use by 37% of surveyed B2B marketers.
In September, B2B Magazine released an analysis of data from Kantar Media, which found that ad spending among the top 50 B2B advertisers in the US had increased by 4.8% between 2011 and 2012 for a total of almost $4.3 billion. However, the only channels that saw ad spending growth were television, outdoor and consumer magazines. Online display ad spending dropped by 1.3%, according to B2B Magazine. Still, online display ads accounted for 10.5% of US B2B ad spending, behind only television (59.6%).