For B2B marketers, the biggest opportunity in digital transformation is the increased ability for marketing to directly contribute to revenue growth, according to new research.
The survey of 450 senior B2B marketing decision makers from mid-sized to large companies, conducted by Stein IAS, found that 81 percent of B2B companies see digital marketing transformation as key for their business, but over three-quarters see it as a complex process.
Digital transformation is typically defined as using data and technology to achieve improve scale, efficiencies and profit. Cost is the biggest barrier for marketing organizations in all companies surveyed, cited by 41 percent of respondents, with smaller organizations feeling the economic pinch more.
Other key barriers included integration of technologies (20 percent), and time and resource allocation (14 percent).
True transformation requires a go-to-market approach, that encompasses not only business processes but an assessment of the necessary skill sets, says Tom Stein, chairman and chief client officer, Stein IAS. Indeed, retraining and training team members to think digital first was cited as the most important factor on the road to transformation, after aligning all stakeholders behind a single strategy.
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After an increased ability to contribute to revenue (cited by 36 percent), other key benefits of digital marketing transformation cited included an ability to improve the connected customer experience (19 percent); improved alignment between marketing, sales and other essential functions (14 percent); and improved efficiency (8 percent).
Implementation of digital transformation takes between one and three years, according to respondents. Their top priorities for getting a new strategy in place were activating more digital media and channels (46 percent); activating data for targeting and segmentation (34 percent); and connecting adtech and martech for better media targeting. (31 percent).
For nurturing and conversion, activating lead scoring and performance measurement initiatives were central to respondents’ strategies, cited by 45 percent, as were integrating demand and sales enablement activity (34 percent) and sales/marketing alignment (32 percent).
When it comes to martech investment, CRM systems were the top priority of B2B marketers’ digital transformation strategies, followed by customer data platforms, social management/monitoring tools, data management platforms and content management systems.