B2B marketing channels are ranked from top earners to worst performing.
The Best B2B Marketing Channels of 2022, Ranked
One study compares the customer acquisition costs (CAC) and the return on investment (ROI) of 11 B2B marketing channels, based on data from 150+ B2B marketing projects spanning 30+ industries between 2017 and 2022.
Speaking engagements turn out to be the most effective B2B lead generation strategy. SEO-focused thought leadership content offers a high ROI. Organising webinars can be a daunting endeavour, but when done right the conversion levels can be interesting. Email, even though it ranks highly, is better at lead nurturing than lead generation.
ABM is work-heavy, which increases the CAC, but the result per account is usually high. Thus, it is a long-term game, unlike most of the other channels. LinkedIn is relatively low effort – high return, as it allows teams to repurpose existing thought leadership content on a platform with a wide audience.
Paid opportunities, like LinkedIn ads and PPC/SEM, offer lower ROI than their organic counterparts.
The worst channels have an ROI lower than 100% mostly because of their costs. Trade shows involve renting exhibition space, spending on travel, and a lot of preparation. Direct mail is expensive and mailing lists are often unreliable. Finally, PR is better done in-house than outsourced (as assumed in the study), since hiring a PR agency can easily outweigh the gains.
This study was undertaken by a company that provides thought-leadership SEO services, so scoring well in this area is not surprising, but it is hard to tell if that is bias in the methodology or the reason they focus on that service. But ROI is always tricky to attribute accurately, and so important channels to drive brand recognition and industry positioning like trade shows can be valuable over longer terms.
Costing thought leadership is also difficult because of the demand on time from the people who have a lot of impact on business success. These people should be worth a lot more than their remuneration package. Then becoming a genuine thought leader also brings valuable experience and keeps leaders at the cutting edge of industry developments.