Last month, LinkedIn released ‘The B2B Marketing Benchmark’ – a study of nearly 2,000 senior B2B marketing and finance leaders from organizations across the globe including 500 in the Asia Pacific across India, Singapore, and Australia.
The study found that following a challenging year, B2B marketing leaders are starting to see the tides turn as optimism returns to the sector with around two-thirds globally (82% in India, 64% in Singapore, and 64% in Australia) expecting marketing budgets to grow over the next year.
The survey additionally found that a majority of marketers in APAC (87% in India, 82% in Singapore, and 75% in Australia) plan to increase the use of Generative AI to create more content in less time, improve efficiency and create engaging content.
To learn more about the research and what it means for B2B marketers in the region, we recently caught up with Matt Tindale, Managing Director of LinkedIn, Australia & NZ.
Over the course of our conversation, he talks about the growing trend of ‘financial fluency’, the use of generative AI by marketers, some of the fastest-growing skills among B2B marketers, new tools that LinkedIn offers, and more.
Recent LinkedIn research talks about ‘financial fluency’ and how more CMOs say they have learned the language of finance. Can you tell us more about that?
Our recent research reveals the growing trend of ‘financial fluency’ among Senior Marketers. This refers to their ability to understand the language of finance and to have conversations with their finance team. Here, there is clearly an emphasis on this skill set this year, with many senior marketers globally looking to show the business impact of their work.
On a positive note for the year ahead, many B2B marketing leaders in Asia Pacific expect budgets to grow in the next year, with their skills in this area paying off and ultimately impacting budget brand building. This is clearly a focus area as our research highlighted that B2B CMOs across APAC have learnt the language of finance – 74% (India), 90% (Singapore), 83% (Australia) – and strengthened their skills to prove the value of brand marketing to their CEO and CFO – 88% (India), 83% (Singapore), 89% (Australia).
“The increasing focus on financial fluency among B2B CMOs reflects a significant shift in the perception of marketing’s role in generating business growth.”
Additionally, the increasing focus on financial fluency among B2B CMOs reflects a significant shift in the perception of marketing’s role in generating business growth. 60% of CFOs globally from B2B organisations feel optimistic in marketing’s ability to drive revenue in the year ahead, signifying that marketing is no longer seen as a cost centre, but as a strategic driver of business success.
When CMOs leverage their financial fluency, they can make more informed decisions, allocate resources effectively, measure the impact of their marketing efforts, and ultimately drive revenue growth.
With B2B marketing budgets expected to increase across the region, what are the top trends shaping budget allocation and spending?
Despite the uncertain economic environment, the majority of marketers in APAC have reported budget increases in the past and anticipate further increases in the coming year, with priority allocation towards generating new leads (32%) and brand building (29%).
Globally, while B2B leaders cite lead generation and generating new business as top areas of budget allocation and spending, they also plan to prioritise branding and demand generation, indicating a stronger focus on expanding customer acquisition. Approximately 6 in 10 B2B marketing leaders say their C-suite has increased the importance of brand building given economic conditions.
Additionally, B2B marketing leaders are reporting increased spending on growing and maintaining brand, highlighting the importance this has in creating long-term value, growth and differentiation in a competitive marketplace.
There is much talk about AI and its effects on the marketing and creative industries. What’s your take on how it is unfolding and what the future holds?
Looking towards the future, I believe AI is here to stay and will play an instrumental role in shaping the future of marketing and we’re optimistic about the opportunities that AI presents. We can expect to see greater productivity, enhanced content creation, and better utilisation of data as AI technologies continue to evolve and mature.
AI-powered solutions can enhance targeting capabilities, enabling businesses to effectively reach out to a wider but more importantly, relevant set of audience. B2B marketing leaders are beginning to realise that emerging technologies, such as generative AI, will provide them with greater efficiency and content creation.
“The research found that B2B marketing leaders in Asia Pacific are leading the charge when it comes to Generative AI utilisation.”
However, there are also gaps in understanding about how to leverage AI for marketing among some B2B marketing leaders. Our study reveals that globally, just over 2 of 5 B2B marketing leaders say they have a “somewhat good” understanding of how to leverage generative AI marketing tools for B2B marketing campaigns. Therefore, it is crucial to have a growth mindset and invest in expanding knowledge and expertise in AI to truly harness the full potential of AI technologies.
What does the data tell us about its adoption with marketers in APAC?
The research found that B2B marketing leaders in Asia Pacific are leading the charge when it comes to Generative AI utilisation – 55% (India), 51% (Australia), 50% (Singapore) – as compared to 45% globally, with the region having had significant adoption across the board.
At the accelerated pace of digital transformation, one of the top priorities for B2B marketing leaders in APAC this year is to champion bolder creative in their campaigns to stand out in the crowded marketplace. In India, creative strategy and execution is seen as the most essential skill for B2B marketers, emphasising the importance of developing compelling and innovative campaigns.
“B2B marketing organisations must focus on upskilling their workforce on both technical skills, like MarTech expertise, and soft skills, like creative strategy and problem-solving.”
In Australia, expertise in marketing technology and data analytics is identified as a top priority, underscoring the growing importance of leveraging data-driven insights and marketing technology to drive meaningful business outcomes in a competitive landscape. In Singapore, problem-solving skills take centre stage, highlighting the need for marketers to address challenges and find effective solutions in a dynamic business environment.
Additionally, our study also sheds light on the future focus among marketers in APAC, where content creation and efficiency remain relevant over time. When properly integrated, generative AI empowers marketers to produce content and ideas with remarkable speed. Looking ahead, B2B marketing leaders in the Asia Pacific region will continue to embrace generative AI technology to generate content and drive efficiency in the current competitive landscape.
In this rapidly evolving technological landscape, what are some of the fastest-growing skills among B2B marketers?
B2B leaders are looking to sharpen their teams’ skills to create more efficient and agile marketing groups. To do so, B2B marketing organisations must focus on upskilling their workforce on both technical skills, like MarTech expertise, and soft skills, like creative strategy and problem-solving.
Globally, here are the top 10 fastest-growing skills among B2B marketers today:
2. Business Insights
3. Growth Strategies
4. Reporting & Analysis
5. Stakeholder Management
6. Budget Management
7. Digital Strategy
8. Go-to-Market Strategy
9. Sales Enablement
10. Client Relations
These fastest-growing skills reflect the evolving demands and priorities within the B2B marketing landscape. As the adoption of AI technologies continues to accelerate, B2B marketers will soon need to pivot and expand their skills set to effectively leverage and harness the power of AI in their marketing strategies.
What are some new tools LinkedIn offers to help B2B and B2C marketers in the region?
At LinkedIn, we continuously invest in our technology to create opportunities for every member of the global workforce and serve as a hub for professional growth. To help companies bolster brand building, measure effectiveness, and connect with audiences in new ways, LinkedIn has launched launching new products and services:
- In-stream Video Ads: To support a full-funnel experience, customers can tap into In-Stream Video ads to scale their campaign reach and connect with professional audiences across LinkedIn’s network of publishers.
- Thought Leader Ads: Thought Leader Ads allow brands to sponsor their thought leaders’ posts, helping them authentically communicate through a trusted voice to build brand equity and stay top-of-mind.
- Conversation Ads: New and improved Conversation Ads allow advertisers to drive higher intent conversations with members in the Focused tab, helping them to increase their reach and maximise budgets with lower frequency caps and cost per click pricing.
- Audience Insights API: The Audience Insights API enables agencies and marketing technology companies to build solutions that help marketers discover and understand their target audiences to create more effective, relevant campaigns.
These formats enable businesses to connect with their target audience across various touchpoints and channels, facilitating effective storytelling. Our ongoing AI investments continue to revolutionise member experiences on the platform, streamlining content creation and profile enhancements – empowering professionals in saving time and effort while ensuring engaging and impactful interactions.
If you were giving a university graduation commencement speech today, what would be your advice for aspiring marketers entering the job market?
As you step into the job market, it’s essential to recognise that your career path will not be linear. Instead, it will be filled with twists and turns that you should wholeheartedly embrace.
In our rapidly changing world, where technology and innovation shape how we connect, communicate, and do business, the role of a marketer is more critical than ever. Your ability to decipher the signals and understand how value is created for customers and businesses, ultimately driving growth, will play a pivotal role in shaping the success of any organisation you work for.
“As you step into the job market, it’s essential to recognise that your career path will not be linear. Instead, it will be filled with twists and turns that you should wholeheartedly embrace.”
Amidst the vast array of tools, technologies, techniques, and trends, there is one quality that stands out as indispensable: curiosity. Curiosity serves as the catalyst for innovation, propelling progress and setting exceptional marketers apart from the rest. Always ask “why?”
To stay ahead in this dynamic landscape, cultivating curiosity is vital. Seek out new knowledge, continuously build upon your foundational skills, ask questions, challenge the status quo, and embrace lifelong learning.
- Book everyone in the industry should read: B2B Institute, LinkedIn Think Tank on B2B growth
- Favorite show you’re watching lately: Succession
- One album you would take to a deserted island: Funk & Soul Playlist: Mavis Staples, Etta James, Sharon Jones, Aretha Franklin and Al Green
- Something you want to learn or wish you were better at: Another language
You can learn more about Linkedin’s B2B Marketing Benchmark here.