Forrester’s five year forecast of B2B interactive marketing spending has gone live on the Forrester site. This report marks the beginning of a chain of research for interactive marketing professionals at B2B companies. It should be no surprise that B2B interactive marketing spending continues to grow – and quickly at that. We project B2B interactive marketing spending to hit $4.8 billion in 2014, over double an estimated $2.3 billion in 2009. That’s no number to sneeze at, but what impresses me most is that historically conservative B2B marketers are not only investing in interactive marketing, but actually shifting budget towards online channels. While all marketers need to adjust marketing plans to suit their unique marketing goals and purchaser behavior, I think our forecast reflects a few universal truths for B2B marketers:

  • Accountability reigns supreme. Even more than their B2C counterparts, B2B interactive marketers are highly focused on channels that deliver tangible business results. Search marketing has been an obvious beneficiary here and we expect B2B marketers to continue focusing on delivering quality leads through their interactive marketing efforts.
  • But digital isn’t just for sourcing leads anymore. Paid search is still the top interactive line item for B2B marketers, but display, mobile, and social marketing are all growing quickly. As B2B marketers gain experience with interactive marketing, they are beginning to stretch outside of their comfort zone and turn to channels that can spark brand interest and help educate potential customers.
  • B2B marketers can’t ignore social media. Consumer-focused marketers have been relatively fast out of the gate in adopting social marketing, but I believe that it’s B2B marketers who will ultimately gain the most from social technologies. B2B marketers have always understood the need to develop deeper relationships with customers, and while traditional sales and client service operations aren’t going to disappear, social media has emerged as key platform for informing decision makers during the sales process and engaging and supporting existing clients.

Stay tuned for more research on B2B interactive marketing. Until then, how do you see B2B interactive marketing evolving over the next 12 months? What research would you like to see? Let me know in the comments below.