An interesting report prepared by GlobalSpec looks at the future of Business-to-Business marketing. Several key points in the report are the following:

1. The economy is improving and manufacturers are responding with
increased marketing spend.
70% of companies expect sales to increase in 2010 over 2009 levels, a strong indicator that the  economy as a whole and the industrial sector in particular are improving. Only 7% anticipate sales to be down in 2009. In response to improving conditions, manufacturers are increasing their marketing  investments.

31% are reporting an increase in their marketing budgets in 2010.

2. Manufacturers are investing more marketing resources online.
Manufacturers now realize that the vast majority of their target audience goes  online in search of suppliers, products and services—and in response are increasing online marketing investments in 2010 to connect with this audience.

47% of manufacturers will spend more than one-third of their 2010 marketing budget online; 27% will spend more than half of their marketing budget online.

The majority of manufacturers (51%) are increasing the online portion of their marketing budget over last year and 68% are increasing spending in online social media channels. In addition, online marketing channels occupy the top six areas where companies will be increasing marketing spending over 2009.

Conversely, spending on traditional media channels will be down: 25% are decreasing trade magazine advertising and 24% are decreasing use of printed directories.
3. Quality of leads delivered ranked most important when allocating marketing
When asked to rate the importance of various factors in allocating marketing budgets, marketers ranked lead quality most important—8.6 on a scale of one to ten—with fit of audience exposure and reach of audience exposure placing second and third.

Quantity of leads and quantity of clicks to a company Web site placed a distant eighth and ninth,  respectively, out of nine factors. In terms of generating leads, three of the four top sources are online: company Web sites, e-mail marketing and search engine optimization.

4. Industrial marketers face the same challenges year after year.
For the past three years, marketers have listed the same three marketing challenges at the top of their  list: too few marketing resources, not enough high quality leads and a need to improve ROI. While most manufacturers are shifting resources to online marketing, the transition is not happening fast enough or broad enough.

Despite online marketing’s proven ability to deliver high quality leads, 48% of respondents still said they are not generating enough high quality leads for their sales teams. And although online programs deliver easily measurable results, 34% stated they need to improve their marketing ROI. It’s true that 47% of marketers are spending more than one-third of their marketing budget online, but that means 53% are spending less than one-third online. These manufacturers are behind and should increase their online marketing investments to help achieve their goals and overcome their marketing challenges.

Other Highlights of the survey responses include:

• 70% of companies anticipate an increase in sales compared to 2009.

• Marketing budgets are recovering after a down year in 2009, with 31% reporting an increase in their marketing budget this year.

• 74% stated that customer acquisition or lead generation is their primary marketing goal. These have been the top two marketing goals for the past three years.

• The top three marketing challenges in 2010 are having too few resources, not enough quality leads and a need to improve marketing ROI.

• Three of the top four sources of leads are online channels, including the company Web site, e-mail marketing and search engine optimization.

• 68% of companies plan to increase spending on social media in 2010. LinkedIn and Facebook are the most popular social media applications currently being used.

• 47% will spend more than one-third of their marketing budget online, and the majority (51%) will invest more in online marketing in 2010 than they did in 2009.

Will try to delve further into the report in the near future.