COVID-19 to Impact B2B Marketing Budgets and Programs, According to Aggregage Survey of 450 B2B Marketers

Online Events, Webinars to Replace Live Events in 2020

Aggregage, Inc., the publisher of B2B Marketing Zone and more than 40 other B2B publications, today announced the results of a survey about the impact of COVID-19 on 2020 B2B marketing plans. More than 450 B2B marketing professionals responded and provided details about how they expect to adjust their marketing plans because of the pandemic. The survey was conducted in late March by B2B Marketing Zone, a site and newsletter for B2B marketers, and Webbiquity LLC, a digital marketing consultancy.

“The impact of COVID-19 on the world and on B2B marketing will be felt throughout 2020”

Some key survey findings include:

  • 72% project overall 2020 B2B marketing budgets will increase, stay the same, or only be cut moderately (by less than 20%).
  • 70% will cancel all or some live events for the next 60 days, and nearly 25% plan to cancel some or all live events for the next six months.
  • 65% plan to reallocate some or most of their live event budgets to online events, such as webinars.
  • Top spending categories, for those planning to reallocate live event budgets, are content creation, hosted and sponsored webinars, social media marketing, search engine optimization, and industry vertical lead generation programs.
  • Software and healthcare marketers appear best positioned to maintain marketing spending and activity, while those in manufacturing and business services are feeling the largest impact.

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“The impact of COVID-19 on the world and on B2B marketing will be felt throughout 2020,” said Robert Flynn, CEO of Aggregage. “Many B2B marketers expect online events and other digital programs to replace the lead generation they were counting on from live events.”

Survey respondents are from companies of all sizes and industries, including 19% at companies with 1,000 or more employees, 23% with 250 to 999 employees, 36% with 50 to 249 employees, and 22% with less than 50 employees. Top industries are software (22%), business services (15%), manufacturing (14%), and media, Internet and telecom (11%).

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“Marketing budget dollars originally slated for events are being shifted to content marketing and social media,” said Tom Pick, founder and chief digital marketing consultant at Webbiquity LLC. “But it’s not just tactics, it’s also about messaging. No one wants to sound tone-deaf. Promotional, ‘hard sell’ copy is out. Empathy is essential.”

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