Here is some interesting research by 10Fold.

150 marketing executives from B2B technology companies in the US were surveyed

Same Results, Less Budget, More Problems

The report revealed that 91% of surveyed CMOs measure goals by using KPIs, and 60% of those executives confirmed their KPIs remained the same, despite the COVID-19 challenges including  cancellation of in-person events and work-from-home mandates that may have had an impact on productivity. 

Making matters even worse, 61% of marketing budgets were reduced due to the pandemic, but only a quarter of respondents reported reduced marketing KPIs. 

In fact, 10% of marketing leaders even reported their goals and KPIs increased, even when budgets stayed the same or were reduced.

In other words Covid_19 has had an impact, the budget has been lowered, but the KPIs have not changed.  If the marketers don't hit their KPIs they won't get their bonus.

How on earth are marketers going to hit the number and get their bonus?

And the future? Back to the research

What can CMOs Expect for 2021?

"When asked about planning for 2021 and beyond, 79% of respondents said that the pandemic has changed how they budget for marketing programs for the future. 

Specifically, CMOs will still have to deliver leads and results with less budget, but they will have adapted their post-COVID strategies to focus on the most impactful and engaging channels, such as non-paid social media, webinars and virtual events

The data in this report showcases the “do more with less” pressure that tech CMOs are facing today and how the current business climate will greatly affect 2021 planning. One thing is very clear: CMOs are not planning to factor in in-person events or lead-generation initiatives heavily into their 2021 budgets and they will focus more on digital initiatives that can be easily measured.

If we are in a position that our budget has been reduced but our KPIs are the same, then we need to do some drastic reviews of the current budget spend.

Let's Summarise Where We Are With Marketing Today

Digital Advertising

This week I had a fascinating conversation with a Martin Lucas on my podcast and the following figures are engagement rates for digital advertising.

1.61% Facebook

1.91% Google

0.35% Programmatic (this is where ads follow you around when you browse)

That means that digital advertising has a 98.81% failure rate and based on the amount of money that is spent on digital advertising, that means that $265 Billion is wasted on digital advertising every year.  Martin explains that fundamentally that humans don't understand humans.  Let's move to email marketing and the latest research (during the pandemic) from Hubspot.

Email Marketing

According to Hubspot, the response rate to emails fell to a record low of 2.1% in April 2020. Said differently, 98% of our efforts to reach new prospects failed.

Hubspot say in the report "Sales teams are sending about 50% more email to prospects than they were pre-COVID, but responses continue to drop. Last week, sales response rates hit an all-time low for 2020 at 2.1%, a lower response rate than Christmas week 2019."

Diagram above, from Hubspot showing the number of emails being sent going up and the response reducing. 

Hubspot also said "These trends tell an important story. Email prospecting, to put it bluntly, is out of control. It's easy to send thousands of emails with just a few clicks, and in a chaotic time, we understand why sales teams are sending so many. But volume and quality is a tradeoff — the time a team saves by sending out email blasts is wasted if that outreach isn't personalized, relevant, and helpful. These gaps are clear in the data."

As an aside, Google’s Threat Analysis Group reported in mid-April that they blocked 18 million COVID-19 themed malware and phishing emails per day.  Add to that the average executive gets 200 emails a day.  We have to remember that our emails are seen by people and corporations as "just another email" and will be treated as such.

It's a noisy world out there and if your marketing is based on "push" then all you are doing is adding to the noise.  You may have the best copy in the world, your may have the based photography in the world, but you are just another advert or just another email or just another cold call.

What Does Gartner Say About Marketing and Digital?

Interesting article by Gartner, here are some of the highlights

"Over the next five years, an even greater rise in digital interactions between buyers and suppliers will break traditional sales models."

"The Gartner Future of Sales 2025 report predicts that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels. Chief sales officers (CSOs) and other senior sales leaders must accept that buying preferences have permanently changed and, as a result, so too will the role of sellers."

 "Sales organizations must be able to sell to customers everywhere the customer expects to engage, interact and transact with suppliers"

"Gartner defines the future of sales as the permanent transformation of organizations’ sales strategies, processes and allocation of resources, moving from a seller-centric to a buyer-centric orientation and shifting from analog sales processes to ....  digital-first engagement with customers."

"Gartner research shows buyers typically only spend 17% of their time meeting with potential suppliers when considering a purchase. With less and less customer face time, virtual selling via digital channels will predominate."

"B2B sales reps need to embrace ... a new manner of engaging customers, matching their sales activity to their customers’ buying practices and information-collecting needs."

If digital marketing isn't getting the returns it once did and the customer has shifted to digital, what is the CMO to do?

Still with me? 

Let's Get Brave

It's time to admit that the Interruption methods of the past, advertising, cold calling and email marketing results are getting less and less.  Research shows that there will be no in person events in 2021 and there is now way we want our company to be seen as a super spreader

This is where we need to get brave.  We admit that, and realise it's time to jump to something else.

What is that something else?

Let me make a suggestion, social media.  I'm not talking about posting cat photos of your lunch, I'm talking a world leading strategic methodology that will enable your teams to increase revenue by 30% and reduce sales cycles by 40%.

Your clients are on social media, let's investigate that.

Businesses Are Switching to Social Media

In this October 2020 report by Simon Kemp he outlines the extent that social media has become part of our lives.  

Worldwide social media users: 4.14 billion - 53% of the world's population use social media in other words, more people use social media than don't use it.

"Social media adoption has jumped by more than 12 percent in just 3 months"

"Marketers may be missing out on some of today’s biggest digital opportunities" says Simon in the report.

Drilling down in the last quarters (July 2020) report, Simon says and this is the important part for CMOs.

"Given the broadening role of social media in people’s lives, it’s important that marketers and communicators think more broadly about where social media fits in their plans.

Critically, social media is increasingly a ‘layer’ that permeates almost every aspect of our audiences’ daily lives, rather than being a distinct ‘destination’ with a more siloed sphere of influence.

The trick to making the most of social media today is to understand how these platforms can complement and augment all of our marketing and communication activities.

My advice would be to think less about populating a content calendar, and focus more on identifying and initiating the conversations that matter most to you and the audiences that you care about."

Let's Talk About Initiating Conversations

The reason why digital marketing, email marketing and cold calling no longer works is that it's based on interruption and people are fed up of it.  What creates meetings is conversations and the only thing you have as a CMO right now, with all of your customer online and on social to create conversations .... is social.

To quote Google's recent report called "The Messy Middle" "As the internet has grown, it has transformed from a tool for comparing prices to a tool for comparing everything"

Brochures, white papers, don't create conversations, as marketers we need to work back from the needs of the audience.  They are looking for insight, they are looking to be educated and they are looking for people to be authentic.

Social will enable you to create a constant stream of conversations and therefore proposal and therefore sales.  In a way that your audience wants.

This Isn't About Social Selling, This is About Social Marketing

Traditional marketing is, you pay for ads to create awareness, you probably have some "hero content" on your website, that you drive people to.  To get the content they have to give you emails, you build an email list, which you send newsletters to.

In the past, you had conferences, where you would collect business cards, which gave you emails.

Either way, there is some sort of "awareness", you collect emails and you run nurture campaigns.  In marketing terminology, this is impressions, engagement and clicks.  Let’s explore them in more detail.

Impressions - On Linkedin, if I scroll through my timeline and your advert is seen on my timeline then that is an “impression”.

Engagement is where you might “hover” over the ad, or dwell, this is engagement.

Clicks are were you might click on an ad, there will be some sort of call to action (CTA) at which point you are probably harvesting emails and adding a name to a database.

How To Get Impressions, Engagement and Clicks Using Earned media

What you do is empower your sales team, maybe empower the people in marketing, maybe empower the employees to be active on social.

They have "great profiles" what I mean by that is they are approachable, like a buyer might want to talk to them.

They build a network.  Currently most people on Linkedin if you analyzed their network, it would be built from x colleagues and recruitment consultants.  This isn't really much help when you need to try and spread your message into target accounts, prospects and customers.  I'm talking here about proactively connecting with people in your target accounts, in your prospects and in your customers.

The old way of collecting emails and nurturing them is based on chance and as we see from the figures from Hubspot a lot of it is based on hope. We all know hope isn't a strategy.

Form a connection on Linkedin and you have direct access to these people (prospects, customers etc,) by sharing content, you are able to "nurture" the contacts, not on an interrupt basis, but on a permission basis.  My advice is that the content is insightful and educational.  Material that people will want to read, material that people would read if they were doing research to buy, what you sell. 

Thanks to the Simon Kemp data, we know that buyers are on social media and to quote Google, Buyers are "moving effortlessly between vendors until something catches our eye. If we like what we see on closer inspection, we can check out immediately, but if not it hardly matters – there are plenty of other stores to visit on internet street."  The same is true for social media and the amazing choice of people to approach and buy from.  Or not buy from, as the case maybe. 

Who's Doing This?

Here is an example, Mark Woodhams, a Senior Sales VP from Blackline thought he knew all about social and was blown away - see this post.  

Another example is James Stirk, he wrote an article about how he thought he knew all there was to know about social and how wrong he was. 

And Catherine Coale, wrote about how Telstra Purple was transforming to being a "social" business.  A social business, not being a non-for-profit, but being a business that uses social strategically, rather than tactically. 

But Time It Will All Work Out In the End!

Digital transformation has absolutely accelerated during the pandemic.  EY forecasts that 72% of CEOs will prioritize investments in digital once we start to get back to some semblance of business as usual. This will underpin new business in the "new normal" I would argue that it's time to make the leap, sooner than later.

We meet so many companies that are saying "we are promoting posts, we are cold calling, it will work out in the end".  I'm really sorry to say, it won't.

If you are like me, and you think the world has changed and maybe you should try something new .... and are brave enough, then we should have a chat. 

You can get me here or one of the DLA Ignite team here