A graph of b2b marketing data

9 Free B2B Marketing Reports You Need To Read Right Now

If I had a nickel for every time I read the phrase “big data” on the interwebs, I would be able to pay off all my college debt right now, and maybe even buy a candy bar. And for good reason: big data has transformed the marketing industry. According to a recent study by Duke University, brands will double their marketing data budgets over the next three years.

You know I love metaphors, so here’s a few to get your gears grinding.

As a marketer, data is (or should be):

  • the fuel to your engine
  • the ping to your pong
  • The Maltese Falcon to your Han Solo
  • the auto-tune to your T-Pain

Aka: a really important thing for your marketing.

But how do you get that data? If you aren’t a superpower marketing demi-god, you probably don’t have the resources to go survey thousands of companies and analyze the results to pinpoint industry trends. Lucky for us, my friend, there are already marketing demi-gods out there right now offering up their hard earned data in the form of marketing reports! And some of them are free!

There are a combined 327 pages in just the free reports on this list, so I know there’s no way for you to read all of these “right now.” I hope you’ll forgive me for the extreme adverbial phrase (just trying to write a compelling headline you know?).

Don’t have time to read them all right now? No problem! I’ve added a few key statistics from each for your reading pleasure.

But without further ado…

Here is a list of reports that every b2b marketer should read right now:

1) The Digital Marketing Outlook Report from SoDA (197 pages)

There’s no doubt about it: this is is a monster of a report. It’s also biannual, incase you want to/have time to keep up with each publication. Warning: it might take you 6 months to read through one publication. It has many interesting insights for online marketers of all shapes and sizes.

A few key findings:

  • 7% more companies are taking marketing inhouse as apposed to hiring new agencies than in 2014 (oh no!)
  • The perceived health according to respondents of the digital services industry was a 7.1 out of 10.
  • Agencies are consolidating, or becoming hyper specialized

2) 2015 State of Marketing Report from Salesforce – (53 pages)

This report is probably the most all encompassing report on the list. It isn’t specifically about inbound, content, social media, or even just b2b marketing, it is a comprehensive look at today’s marketing in general. Check out this Forbes article identifying key takeaways from the report.

A few key findings:

  • 84% of marketers plan to increase or maintain their spend in 2015
  • 38% of marketers plan to shift spend from traditional mass advertising to advertising on digital channels
  • The area that marketers said they wanted to increase spending the most overall was Social Media

3) 2014 State Of Inbound Marketing Report from HubSpot – (54 pages)

Every b2b marketer should know something about inbound marketing. HubSpot invented the word, now let them show you how well it’s doing. Go knock yourself out.

A few key findings:

  • Inbound marketers who measure ROI are more than 12 times more likely to be generating a greater as opposed to lower year-over-year return
  • Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI
  • More than 25% of respondents reported that their organizations’ sales teams practice inbound

4) The 2015 B2B Content Marketing Report from Content Marketing Institute – (40 pages)

Another huge report from an incredible company. Content marketing has been around for a while, and is an integral component to all b2b marketing. Content Marketing Institute is highly respected on the subject. Also, check out the B2B Enterprise Content Marketing Report and the B2B Small Business Content Marketing Report.

A few key findings:

  • 60% of those with a written content strategy rate themselves as highly effective, compared to only 32% of those who ony have a verbal strategy
  • 70% of B2B marketers are creating more content than they did one year ago
  • 92% of B2B marketers use Linkedin to distribute their content

5) B2B Marketing Automation Report 2014 from Pepper – (20 pages)

This report looks into how b2b marketing companies are using marketing automation. The report came out in 2014, but still has relevance for marketers today.

A few key findings:

  • The key benefits of MA are more and better leads, better marketing productivity, and increased conversion rates
  • HubSpot, Eloqua, and Pardot were the most popular MAs
  • 75% of companies using MA implimented it in less than 6 months

6) B2B Marketing Automation Platforms 2015: A Marketer’s Guide from Digital Marketing Depot – (49 pages)

This is both a report on marketing automation industry trends, and a guide to choosing a marketing automation platform.

A few key findings:

  • Marketing automation systems revenue grew 60% in 2014
  • 85% of B2B marketers using MA don’t believe they are using it to the full potential
  • Predictive analytics are on the rise

7) The 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner – (54 pages)

Social Media Examiner is the Walmart of social media marketing. They’ve got to be employing an army of unpaid laborers locked away in a dark warehouse. There’s no other way for them to crank out that much content. Whether their methods are unethical or not, it seems the world can’t live without them. Go check out their report. You’ll be better for it.

A few key findings:

  • 72% of marketers want to learn more about video and plan to increase their use of video
  • Facebook and Linkedin are the two most important social networks for marketers
  • Only 45% of marketers think their Facebook marketing is effective

8) The 2015 Social Media Benchmarks Report from HubSpot – (49 pages)

This report, while not as comprehensive as Walmart’s — wait I mean Social Media Examiner’s, it has a lot of good insights and complements Social Media Exminer’s well. Check out this post comparing both of these reports.

A few key findings:

  • Posting more does not equal more engagement
  • Size of following is a better indicator of engagement
  • Marketing services has one of the least engaged social audiences

9) The 2015 Demand Generation Benchmarks Report from HubSpot – (18 pages)

This report is very interesting. It will give you a sense of what successful and unsuccessful marketers are doing and help you to identify ways that your business can improve.

A few key findings:

  • In general, the less companies knew about their KPIs, the less likely they were to meet their revenue goals.
  • 40% of those not achieving their revenue goals didn’t know their click-through rate.
  • Branding, website design and optimization, and social media were the top 3 marketing investments for companies exceeding their revenue goals.

10) 2015 Global Digital Marketing Report from Razorfish – (39 pages)

This report identifies behavioral trends in buyers across the world and identifies how digital marketers can improve their efforts. This report leans pretty b2c, but still has many interesting insights for b2b marketers.

A few key findings:

  • Marketers aren’t drawing big enough distinctions between millennials and GenXers
  • Good Digital experiences keep buyers loyal, even when they have infinite options
  • Brazil and China have higher expectations for digital experiences

Industry data is one tool that b2b marketers need. Check out more tools to help you become a more effective b2b marketer.

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