Firms operating in the B2B arena could be risking huge losses by failing to devise a formal marketing plan.

The alarming signs arrive courtesy of Sagefrog Marketing group, a full-service marketing agency which recently queried 100 US marketing and management professionals about their commercial priorities.

Researchers discovered that nearly half (46%) of B2B companies did not have a plan of action for their marketing despite allocating vast sums of money towards their external promotion. There were signs of businesses keeping close tabs on their progress in specific channels, but the lack of a clear course of direction stood out as one of the study’s more prominent findings.

Frugal by nature

Asked of the percentage of revenue they pledged towards marketing, precisely half (50%) of the companies admitted to spending less than 5%. A mere 9% said the proportion was greater than 15% and a slightly bigger crowd of 19% were found to be spending roughly 10%.

Having this shrewd attitude towards marketing spend means that B2B firms should be looking for strong ROI from every channel. Online marketing was found to be the best at driving a return on spend, followed by tradeshows and events, email marketing and public relations.  

At the other end of the table, some of the more traditional methods such as telemarketing and offline advertising were found to be providing less than desirable results.

Popularity follows ROI

High ROI also resulted in high popularity as a plethora of digital marketing channels dominated the most popular avenues for spend.

A total of 87% of the groups declared to spending well on their website, 66% dedicated finances to email marketing, with social media (60%) and search engine optimisation (47%) also proving popular.

Mark Schmukler, managing partner at Sagefrog, even stated that the amount of B2B companies applying attention to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter was surprisingly low and backed the total to rise next year.