The optimal number of channels to achieve high response in your B2B marketing campaigns is four to six, according to recently conducted research. Depending on your point of view, that figure could be surprising, or possibly daunting. After all, how many of us in B2B marketing can say we are fluent in upwards of four channels?

The need for this broad mix of channels is one of the most compelling findings to me in HIPB2B’s forthcoming State of Demand Gen report. Drawing on the most insightful research our team could find, the report explains how multichannel marketing, the most current content formats to engage most effectively, and other tactics enabled marketers to deliver great results throughout the pandemic and position them for success again this year. Our analysis identifies the top strategic priority for B2B marketers — and it may not be what you expect, so I hope it sparks some debate.

The multi-channel imperative rings true for us at HIPB2B. We have had sustained success in prospect and customer outreach with a mix of social, email, phone and more, even though email remains our go-to channel. Apparently, our experience in this area aligns well with some of the most successful marketing orgs.

Our report finds video among the top content priorities as the B2B industry moves ever more aggressively to embrace this format. I’d rate myself a little less sold than some others on video for driving conversions. Yes, we leverage video and we see strong customer engagement, but that’s not happening at the expense of other high-performing formats such as ebooks.
The marketing and content mix continues to evolve in the immediate aftermath of COVID-19. We all know how many of our interactions that previously occurred face to face or over the phone have now gone digital, including videoconferences. It will be fascinating to see how the mix continues to change, or doesn’t change, as we begin to emerge from the pandemic.

Other demand-gen developments I’m watching closely in the latter two thirds of 2021 include:

  • Will the lessons of COVID-19 (you may need to change course based on factors outside your control) lead marketers to adapt even their most mature channels and tactics such as email? For instance, 52% of marketers spend two weeks or more to complete a single email from start to finish. That seems untenable in an industry where agility is one of your top assets. Am I an outlier on that point?
  • Like my team, will other marketers come to realize that quick, impactful tests are a good way to add velocity to your operations and drive demand-gen results without overly long planning cycles?
  • Will personalization take hold on a broad scale as a means to enhance user experience in the year to come? Robust email platforms have made it a reality for some time. Martech platforms continue to promise personalized experiences, but I think their reality still falls a bit short of the promise, and technology can’t solve the challenge of creating enough content to enable personalized experiences at scale.

We’ve taken on several of these topics in the State of Demand Gen report. Read our 2021 perspective and we welcome your feedback!

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