Technologies that facilitate content marketing will continue to be the most important marketing technology for US B2B marketers, according to a September 2015 Spear Marketing Group survey. But will other currently valued marketing technologies hold relevance, or are new categories set to grow in importance?
While content marketing is still projected by those surveyed to be the most important marketing technology in the next 12 to 18 months, SEO, currently second-most-important to US B2B marketers at 71%, faces a decline to 41%, which will render it fourth in importance. CRM will also drop significantly, from 68% currently to a projected 29% response of most important.
In fact, most marketing technologies faced a projected decline in importance. Among the five technologies expected to grow in importance over the next year and a half, predictive analytics saw the biggest jump, more than doubling from 16% to 37%. Big data and analytics, lead lifecycle and attribution reporting, programmatic advertising and personalization were also gaining in significance for B2B marketers.
The result is an outlook where various marketing technologies will have more equal importance in the B2B ecosystem. This may be because older technologies, like SEO, are being slowly eclipsed by emerging ones.
The same two technologies B2B marketers rated as most important now are also among the biggest winners in terms of ROI. While marketing automation leads the way with 58% of respondents expecting it to deliver ROI, content marketing (51%) and SEO (36%) are also depended upon to get results.
On the other hand, CRM's relatively low ROI expectations (23%) when compared to its overall marketing technology importance according to US B2B marketers suggests that, while ROI is obviously important to marketers, it's not the whole story.