European B2B Marketer’s Digital Maturity: an Analysis from the ON24 & Market2Marketers Report
Understanding B2B Digital Maturity for Levels for B2B Marketers across Europe.
Have European marketers cracked the code on digital maturity? Are they setting the pace, trailing behind, or holding their own?
ON24, in partnership with Market2Marketers, launched a comprehensive survey to uncover the truth about B2B digital maturity in Europe. Through curated questions, they gathered insights of hundreds of B2B marketing professionals across the continent, revealing interesting findings.
General Findings on Digital Maturity
In a collaborative effort to shed light on the digital maturity landscape of European B2B marketers, ON24 and Market2Marketers surveyed 863 professionals. Drawing participants from a diverse set of countries including the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, and Italy, the survey aimed to gather insights based on 14 curated questions.
These questions were organized around five pivotal areas that are central to digital maturity:
- Strategy, Process, and People: Assessing the framework businesses adopt and the harmony between their strategy and workforce.
- Data and Measurement: Understanding the role and effective utilization of data in driving decisions.
- Driving Action and Engagement: Evaluating the strategies that propel consumer action and engagement.
- Tech Adoption and Use: Measuring the adoption rate of new technologies and their seamless integration into marketing strategies.
- Experiences and Personalization: Rating the efforts made to craft personalized consumer experiences.
From the data collated, the maturity levels were broadly categorized into: Novice, Intermediate, Proficient, and Advanced. The key revelation from this survey was the dominance of the “Proficient” and “Intermediate” categories among respondents, with only a fraction touching “Advanced”. This provides a telling snapshot of where the European B2B market stands in its digital journey.
Regional Variations in Digital Maturity
The digital maturity landscape, while giving an overarching European view, also highlighted significant regional disparities. Here’s a look at how different European regions fared:
- The Nordic Region: Emerging as the front-runners, marketers from Denmark, Sweden, and other countries showcased commendable digital maturity. A combined total of 52% of respondents from this region were either categorized as “Advanced” or “Proficient.” This suggests that businesses in the Nordic area are not only embracing but mastering digital transformation at a rapid pace.
- France: French B2B marketers trailed closely, with 43% of respondents scoring as either “Advanced” or “Proficient.” This signifies that France, as a single country, holds substantial weight in Europe’s digital evolution narrative.
- Southern Europe: Comprising nations like Italy, Spain, and Portugal, this region presented an intriguing statistic. While 41% of its respondents fell under the combined bracket of “Advanced” or “Proficient,” it was noteworthy that Southern Europe boasted the highest percentage of respondents with an “Advanced” maturity score, standing at 8%. This indicates that a segment of marketers in this region are pushing the boundaries and setting benchmarks for digital excellence.
Such regional variations bring to light the diverse approaches, challenges, and successes each area faces in their digital journey, underscoring the importance of a nuanced, region-specific strategy for B2B marketers aiming to expand or consolidate their European operations.
Correlation Between Company Size and Digital Maturity
Company size, often an indicator of resources and reach, interestingly plays a role in the digital maturity landscape. The study unveiled some patterns worth noting:
- Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs): While not explicitly quantified in the summary, smaller organizations generally showcased ascending levels of digital proficiency. This might be attributed to the agility and adaptability that smaller setups offer, allowing for quicker implementation of new digital strategies.
- Larger Companies: Companies boasting an expansive employee base, particularly those with over 10,000 employees, presented a mixed bag of results. They were not only more likely to achieve an “Advanced” maturity rating but also had representatives at the “Novice” level. This bifurcation might stem from the inherent challenges of scaling and standardizing digital practices across vast organizational structures.
- A Noteworthy Point: The variation in digital maturity within large organizations reiterates that sheer size or market dominance doesn’t directly translate to digital prowess. Factors such as leadership vision, employee training, and the agility to adapt to changing digital landscapes play critical roles.
This correlation between company size and digital maturity emphasizes that there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. Whether a budding startup or a market behemoth, continuous assessment and adaptation are key to thriving in the digital era.
Detailed Insights on the Five Key Areas
The study segmented digital maturity into five discernible areas. Here’s a deeper dive into how European B2B marketers fared in each:
- Strategy, Process, and People: European marketers showcase impressive proficiency in this domain, scoring an admirable 70% of the maximum possible score. It underscores that the majority of marketers in Europe have a strong foundation, with robust strategies, streamlined processes, and well-coordinated teams in place.
- Data and Measurement: Closely following the lead, European marketers scored 69% of the total possible in data and measurement. Harnessing data effectively and measuring outcomes is evidently a strong suit for many B2B marketers in the region, reflecting a culture of data-driven decision-making.
- Tech Adoption and Use: On this front, Europe appears to be playing catch-up. B2B marketers in the region achieved only 51% of the maximum score, hinting at a potential gap in adopting or effectively utilizing technology. This is consistent with recent studies pointing to US marketers feeling more confident in martech utilization compared to their UK and EU counterparts.
- Driving Action and Engagement: The study did not provide explicit scores for this area in the summary. However, one can infer from the overall trends that while marketers might have the right strategies and data, driving engagement remains a challenging area.
- Experiences and Personalization: Similarly, no specific score was provided for this category. Yet, given the importance of personalization in modern marketing, continuous improvements in this area could significantly bolster a brand’s connection with its audience.
The assessment suggests a multi-faceted landscape. While European marketers excel in strategic alignment and data utilization, there remains room for growth, particularly in technology adoption and creating engaging, personalized experiences.
Marketing Technology and Its Challenges
The evolution of marketing is undeniably tied to the technological tools at its disposal. In the survey, the relationship between European B2B marketers and their tech stack was explored:
- Marketing Automation Platforms: Surprisingly, only about 4 in 10 respondents (39%) reported having a marketing automation platform. This highlights a potential gap, given the pivotal role these platforms play in contemporary marketing strategies.
- User-friendliness of Technology: Despite some shortcomings in tech adoption, European marketers seem comfortable with the tools they use. A commendable 8 in 10 respondents stated that it’s either “very easy” or “somewhat easy” for them to use technology to augment the buyer experience.
- Tech-related Challenges: One might assume that the lower tech adoption rates would indicate technology being a significant obstacle in marketing efforts. However, this isn’t the case. Technology was ranked as the least-cited challenge by respondents. It suggests that while there’s room for growth in tech adoption, it’s not perceived as a significant hindrance by the majority.
In a nutshell, while European B2B marketers might not be at the forefront of tech adoption, particularly with marketing automation platforms, they aren’t necessarily finding technology a major barrier. The focus, perhaps, is more on effective use than mere adoption.
Marketing Effort Challenges
While technology adoption may not be the primary concern for European B2B marketers, other challenges occupy the forefront of their efforts:
- Staffing Issues: The foremost challenge facing European B2B marketers is hiring the right talent. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, securing skilled professionals equipped to navigate this dynamic environment becomes paramount.
- Misalignment between Marketing and Sales: Beyond staffing, there’s a significant concern regarding the synergy between marketing and sales departments. The lack of alignment can lead to inconsistent messaging, missed opportunities, and inefficient resource utilization.
- Resistance to Change: Change, especially in well-established organizations, can be hard. Overhauling existing marketing strategies or adopting new technologies can meet with internal resistance, slowing down the process of digital transformation.
Addressing these barriers requires a concerted effort from both leadership and ground-level teams. Recognizing them is the first step; the next involves strategizing on how to navigate or remove them to drive forward.
Understanding one’s digital maturity isn’t just a theoretical exercise; it has tangible impacts on business performance, resource allocation, and future strategy. The findings from ON24 and Market2Marketers’ survey shed invaluable light on the state of digital maturity in Europe, highlighting areas of strength and pointing out avenues for improvement.
For a comprehensive dive into the survey’s findings and to get actionable insights tailored for European B2B marketing landscapes, download the full report here.