LinkedIn new data reveals Australian B2B marketers are positive about the next six months


The industry should focus on ROI to gain increased budgets from the wider business

LinkedIn has released new data that has revealed that despite this period of economic uncertainty, 4 in 5 (81%) Australian B2B marketers are positive about the next six months.

For those seeking to make an impact, creative thinking and building their B2B brands will continue to be essential.

While looking forward, the industry will need to continue to focus on ROI to gain increased budgets from the wider business, according to the new data from LinkedIn.

B2B Marketers are being asked to do more with less budget

During this period of change, Australian B2B marketers will need to rise to the challenge and prove their worth, as 2 in 5 (42%) of those that reduced their budgets claim marketing is not perceived as an important investment area for their business. As a result, 1 in 5 (23%) feel their biggest challenge during this period of economic change will be doing more with a reduced budget.

The top areas where B2B marketers are experiencing budget changes currently are events, partnerships, and sponsorships (38%), along with the retention and onboarding of agency partners and specialists (35%). However, B2B marketers continue to invest in tactics like research and thought leadership, and below-the-line campaigns remain steady with just 29% cutting these tactics. This further signals that the way marketers engage with customers and partners has changed, and will continue to do so.

B2B brand building continues to be a focus for marketers

The research shows the industry is in flux, as 3 in 5 (59%) claim they will reduce B2B brand-building spending in the next six months. However, while budgets may be changing, over half of B2B marketers (53%) plan on investing more than 50% of their budget in brand-building activities, showing that brand activity continues to be important. In fact, almost half (49%) believe this is the moment to rethink their brand story to stay relevant.

For the brands that are focused on brand marketing over this time, many (42%) will aim to show how they are helping customers, while almost 3 in 5 (38%) will cover how they will be driving new or existing customer relationships, or maintaining their share of voice. Over 1 in 4 (26%) also see this time as an opportunity to invest in building relationships and trust with customers.
Prue Cox
, LinkedIn’s director enterprise SEA & ANZ, marketing solutions, discussed the need for brand building and creativity.
“While we are in a period of uncertainty, our research shows that marketers are positive about their future. To ensure long-term growth, particularly during times of economic upheaval, we know continued brand building and harnessing creativity is vital for B2B marketers.
“Savvy operators will use this moment to their advantage and harness the power of creativity during these challenging times and show how they are adding value to customers. By doing so, they can extend the reach of their limited budgets and reap the rewards.
Cox continued: “With resilience, efficiency, and innovation being the top three essential skills marketers believe are needed to navigate this moment, those who adapt and tap into their creative confidence will be able to make a little go a long way.
“To help support brands dealing with this dilemma, LinkedIn recently launched a creativity playbook, which empowers brand marketers and creative agencies to explore what creative best practice for their campaigns looks like on the platform,” she added.

Improving understanding of B2B ROI is top priority

For many marketers, showing their worth continues to be a struggle internally, as the research reveals the need to prove this to key internal stakeholders. 1 in 4 (26%) believe their business does not understand B2B marketing ROI. With budgets under more scrutiny than ever, proving ROI will be crucial for marketers in the months ahead.

Other industry experts has also weighed in on B2B creativity. Andrea Dixon, head of marketing, Asia-Pacific at Docusign said: “Like many B2B tech brands, this year we had huge growth targets and limited budget.

“The kind of growth we had to achieve wasn’t something we could just throw paid media dollars at, so it had to come from a creative solution. We partnered with Hardhat and produced our award-winning B2B influencer campaign, Next Time, DocuSign.

“If we executed this campaign well, we knew growth would take care of itself. Investment in brand today really is an investment in sales tomorrow – and it paid off. Almost immediately we started to see results. This campaign was developed as an awareness play, but we were delighted to see that this was impacting our metrics at the bottom of the funnel.

“We had 3.7m views and counting, 44 per cent increase in web traffic quarter on quarter and 21,000 new accounts of DocuSign. On the LinkedIn platform, we saw 2.79 times higher click through rate than the industry benchmark and a 27 per cent video completion rate, which is over 3.5 times greater than the LinkedIn industry benchmark. It’s one of the best performing campaigns on LinkedIn. We’re incredibly proud of these results.”

Samantha Cuclifee, managing director, B2B Merkle said: “If we think about our job as B2B marketers, especially in today’s world with all its uncertainties and resulting impact on business, we have to effectively build brand with demand strategies to find opportunities to convert today and in the future – whether that’s in 6 months or 2 years.

“The purpose of brand in this context is to not to generate awareness, but to build category eminence and mindshare so that when audiences are in the market to purchase, your brand is front of mind. Once the role is defined, the creativity to establish brand distinction can be unleashed,” she added,

Joel Acenas, commercial marketing manager, personal systems HP ANZ, said: “the distinct line between brand building and demand generation is getting more and more blurry.

“This allows us to push our creativity to activate traditional demand generation activities and channels in ways that can further build the brand that excites our audience to be more engaged and ultimately measure the ROI that we can report back to the business,” he added.

Cox also shared her advice for B2B marketers to navigate uncertainty:
In times of uncertainty, B2B brands can optimise on recency, not frequency – by building a strategy to steadily maintain brand presence. Advertising consistently helps to build mental availability and keeps your brand front of mind when eventually the need for your product or service arises.
With B2B brands looking to do more with less, innovation is a top skill currently. LinkedIn’s Creativity Playbook is a guide to best practices, expert advice, and top tips to empower brands and agencies to do their best work.
Getting famous may not be a goal on a B2B marketer’s strategy, but LinkedIn’s study on advertising effectiveness found that B2B marketing strategies focused on brand fame were six times more effective than pure demand, product-based marketing. Being bold, building a community, and playing the long game will hold your brand in good stead in times of uncertainty. 
With proving marketing effectiveness a top priority for B2B marketers, mastering the language of return on investment (ROI) and translating it to business stakeholders is key. Marketers need the ability to express the long-term value of their activity in financial terms and demonstrate the impact on business priorities.

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