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B2B marketing experts are now predicting that given how process-centric the roles of marketers will be in the future, that the new era of the marketing technologist continues to emerge since the last decade (Swindley, 2002). B2B marketers then are beginning to own three processes that involve pricing, quoting and contract management. This is bringing an entirely new era to B2B marketing of accountability for translating advertising and promotion into closed sales with many of the firms in the UK and throughout Europe being the leaders on this trend (Raddats, Easingwood, 2010). In conclusion, the PRM strategies and platforms B2B marketers are using throughout the UK and Europe are setting the foundation for their ownership of pricing, quoting and contract management for the long-term. This will bring an entirely new era of accountability to B2B marketers, and already is throughout the UK and Europe.
Business Intelligence and Analytics
The fifth trend that is becoming pervasive throughout the UK and Europe is the adoption of analytics and Business Intelligence (BI) for measuring, evaluating and improving marketing strategies. As many marketers have moved to the majority of their budgets to digital media as it allows for greater precision of planning and measurement, the en masse adoption of analytics and Bi will only accelerate over the coming years. 2011 is seeing the fastest and most pervasive adoption of analytics for use in measuring marketing strategies over time. Figure 6, Analytics and BI Show Growth Despite the Recession, illustrates how the EMEA market continues to lead the B2B industries globally in the adoption and use of these technologies to track marketing strategy performance.
Figure 6: Analytics and BI Show Growth Despite the Recession
Analytics and Business Intelligence (BI) are also being used to unify the value chain of B2B-based businesses (Trkman, McCormack, Oliveira, Ladeira, 2010). The reliance on analytics to ensure that forecasts from trading partners, distributors, and direct sales teams are accurately interpreted, analyzed and taken into account for production planning is crucial. Just as channel management is leading to increased focus on accountability in the areas of contract management, pricing, and quoting, the same holds true for B2B marketers in the area of supply chain and value chain management with analytics. The ability to track from the initial sales lead or opportunity through the sales cycle to the closed sale is made possible with analytics and BI. Due to this fact alone these software applications have become indispensible to B2B marketers throughout the UK and Europe. Their early adoption of these applications for gaining insights into supply chain performance has made them early adopters globally as well (Trkman, McCormack, Oliveira, Ladeira, 2010).
The recession of the last three years has also led to en masse adoption of analytics and BI throughout B2B marketing departments. The need to quantify the impact of pricing, product direction and inventory decisions over time has become most pronounced in the UK and EMEA as the economies still recover from the recession (Frank, 2009). Analytics and BI has very much become a hedge against undue risk, and B2B marketers have been given the responsibility to arbitrate which programs and strategies are taken on or not (Trkman, McCormack, Oliveira, Ladeira, 2010). This continues to be exacerbated throughout the UK and Europe, where risk aversion is especially high given the fragile nature of surrounding economies as well (Frank, 2009). Analytics and BI are also driving entirely new approaches for many UK and European companies to get the most out of their large, often non-integrated data sets, called data warehouses and data marts. B2B marketers throughout the UK and Europe are today creating data models based on these data sets to get a better understanding of how to generate higher levels of loyalty with their customers
(Trkman, McCormack, Oliveira, Ladeira, 2010). Analytics and BI are a dominant trend because they are affecting the selling cycles, selling strategies, value chain, and customer analytics that B2B marketers throughout the UK and Europe are relying on to gain competitive advantages over time.
The five trends that comprise the foundation of this analysis are reshaping B2B marketing, selling and service strategies in the UK and globally. The unifying effect of social networking and the increased transparency it is enabling is also driving the need for greater value-based selling as well. As the UK and Europe becomes early adopters of cloud computing and software as a service, B2B marketers are redefining the best practices used in attracting, selling and serving customers. Analytics and business intelligence are the catalyst that unifies all these strategies together, and is the most dominant trend in terms of spending by B2B marketers throughout the UK and Europe. In an era of uncertainty and risk, B2B marketers are also turning to analytics and BI to gain greater insights into their core strategies and go-to-market plans. All of these factors take together put the need for creating trust with customers at the top of the priority list for B2B marketers in the UK, in Europe and globally.
The continued adoption of social networks, Web 2.0 technologies and the cultural changes they are bringing into companies is significant, and will continue to accelerate through 2011 and beyond. The recession forced higher levels of accountability regarding spending and the need to validate if marketing strategies were indeed paying off. Given these dynamics, the five trends mentioned in this analysis have emerged as the most dominant in B2B marketing throughout the UK and EMEA.
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