Initial reports from 2020 indicated that the combination of COVID-19 and EU trade changes brought about by Brexit would likely cripple the most resilient markets and jeopardize national and global economic growth.
Experts even predicted that industries that could mitigate the effects of the pandemic were unlikely to do as well after a projected spike in trade barriers after Brexit in 2021.
However, this version of reality is far from the results of the IBA primary research conducted in August 2020, which looked at the situation of B2B organizations operating in multiple vertical markets. The study focused on companies in New Zealand, Australia, North America and the UK and found that companies are much more optimistic about their future.
Companies have turned and set their sights on new opportunities
Instead of bringing their activities to a standstill, B2B companies use downtime to manage PR and marketing strategies as part of their business continuity plans.
Even with the start of Brexit, for example, many B2B companies in the UK hope to secure international opportunities with the help of their PR and marketing agencies, especially if low tariffs on the sale of products and cheap free trade agreements are introduced.
In particular, 54% of businesses are looking for new markets and “new regions to ensure economic growth” to expand their demographics. Another 86% of companies plan to “adapt their products, services and tactics to current and future customer needs”.
Are Traditional B2B Marketing Agencies Worth the Cost?
Despite the business optimism, the current environment has also resulted in dreaded budget cuts for B2B companies. Up to 45% admitted having cut costs in the past year. This development has become a major obstacle for companies looking to expand their PR and marketing campaigns. One result becomes obvious: agencies have to become more cost-effective, otherwise they run the risk of losing future contracts.
The IBA study focused on marketing managers who spend an average of $ 5 to $ 20,000 per month on marketing support. More than 50% of companies said their agency fees are too high. Others said there weren’t enough affordable B2B agencies out there.
Just under half of marketing managers said they had difficulty finding an affordable B2B marketing agency that could be used in multiple countries. This is not good news for those looking to expand campaigns to new markets and new regions.
Given that 30% of businesses say the cost of their agencies far outweighs the return on their investment, and only 11% of marketing managers say they are happy with their current agencies, it is clear that the cost is a fair one Problem related to traditional B2B agencies.
Traditional B2B marketing agencies cannot be reached.
A full 88% of B2B organizations said a large chunk of their agency spend is wasted. Asked for more details, they expressed criticism, largely directed against traditional practices and attitudes of the agency.
For example, 24% of marketing managers said agencies prioritize their large financiers and often feel their smaller accounts are undervalued and poorly managed by junior staff. This statistic is in line with claims made by 20% of managers who said their wasted budgets were caused by agency false starts on projects.
33% of marketing managers also emphasized that traditional agencies are “out of touch” and said that wasting their agency budget is caused by agency staff spending too much time on status calls rather than getting measurable results. Another 21% said they were pressured by management to work with “reputable” agencies, even if these agencies did not match the campaign objectives.
Some B2B marketing agencies just miss the mark
A staggering 40% of marketing managers admitted that measuring their PR and marketing agency’s contribution to the overall business is difficult.
These managers were asked about the main reasons for this. 41% of them stated that their agencies place too much value on a high level of media loyalty with familiar media contacts and not on metrics for the placement of content. 34% said their agency placed content in the same small selection of media.
New market requirements require agility and scalability
The results of the study show that traditional B2B marketing agencies need to adapt their strategies to the needs of emerging markets and the industry, and this means demonstrating their value in an increasingly stronger, cost-conscious environment. B2B businesses should look for agencies that can focus on targeted PR and marketing, with an emphasis on scalability and affordability.
In order to do justice to these considerations and to establish itself as a field leader regardless of your location, the company should consider a central hub. From this point, an outreach team can create content such as leadership articles, white papers, and customer stories. and they can provide thought leadership and social media programs for new regions and markets.
A central hub also enables the localization of geographic-specific content, so that marketers no longer have to waste budget on hiring agencies in each new target region. Flexible adjustments can also be made to adapt to new markets.
Such an approach can guarantee B2B organizations multiple placements for each generated content and ensure greater brand visibility, which helps make further campaign expansion a success.
It’s time for B2B marketing agencies to reconnect with marketers’ needs
The tide is changing in the relationship between B2B organizations and their PR and marketing agencies. In a time of economic recovery, companies are looking for B2B marketing agencies that can support their expansion plans.
Companies must overcome the hurdles of budget cuts and market disruptions and fulfill their plans for ambitious campaign expansions through a more cost-effective and results-oriented approach.
Additional resources on global B2B marketing agencies
10 questions to ask when interviewing your nearest B2B digital marketing agency
Five Reasons Your Global Marketing Is Failing (And How To Fix It)
Eight common campaign management mistakes agencies make