Which marketing channels perform best for different industries

Companies typically spend between 10 and 15 percent of their revenue on marketing.

Until 2020, when COVID-19 put the brakes on vast amounts of commercial activity, the amount being invested had been increasing solidly.

Let’s take digital advertising as an example. In 2019, spending passed the $325 billion mark, up by more than $40 billion in 2018. While 2020 is expected to see a flatlining of expenditure, by 2024 digital advertising is expected to be worth $526 billion – around 40 percent more than its value today.

But what channels are paying the most dividends for enterprises across different industries?

The answer, unsurprisingly, is not simple.

But we have discussed the imperative of adopting a multi-channel approach at length in a recent white paper, How to Optimise Your Outbound Strategy for Success.

This applies to almost all industries in B2B circles – however, there are several interesting and specific observations that can be backed up by statistics.

According to the State of Pipeline Marketing Report produced by Bizbible, Heinz Marketing, Radius, Reachforce and Uberflip, old fashioned word of mouth still carries the greatest impact on revenue.

The report includes responses from marketers across a range of small and large companies operating in different industries, and referrals came out on top as the most impactful marketing channel, with 22% saying it was their top channel.

Other standout takeaways include tools such as paid search (6.7%) appearing to be of greater use than marketing channels like social, where just over 3% of B2B companies reported it as their most valuable channel.

In terms of the channels actually used by organisations, email marketing is heavily favored, with more than 88% of B2B companies leveraging this tool. The second most popular, despite the suggestions it is not necessarily valuable, is social media – 88% of B2B firms use this marketing channel.

Finance, manufacturing and marketing agencies: which channels work best?

Drilling down into some specific sectors, there are some nuances worth noting.
For businesses in the financial services sector, email marketing appears to be the most valuable marketing channel. This is of little surprise given the industry relies on relationships and trust, something which can be achieved through well thought out email campaigns that nurture leads with educational content.

SEO is another key channel for marketers in financial services, likely because of the fact many firms target specific cities and regions.

The picture looks subtly different once more when looking at the manufacturing industry.

Here, face-to-face interaction is important. Conferences and trade shows represent the channel with the greatest impact on revenues, with physical product demonstrations being an effective way to lure in customers and close sales.

Email and SEO marketing are again used widely by marketers in the manufacturing sector. The former is particularly effective when it comes to communicating news about new product launches, special offers and industry news.

And what about the agencies which themselves provide marketing services? These firms have a distinct focus on several channels, including content marketing, referrals, email and social. Outbound calling, video ads and TV are not widely used,
with word of mouth seen as the most impactful means of attracting new business – reputation, for marketing firms, is everything.

While there is no one size fits all formula for marketing channels across different industries, there are clearly some strategies that work better than others, especially when comparing B2B and B2C segments.

However, utilising a healthy mix of channels is vital no matter what industry you operate in. Tech companies, for example, are commonly lauded as the benchmark for effective marketing.

The reason? They invest in the lot.

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