With so many digital marketing tools becoming available to the marketing public, it often becomes difficult to figure out which is the best option. Aside from actually trying them all out personally, which would require quite an impressive budget, there is really know way for marketers to be completely sure what will work. Luckily, there are constant studies released that serve the purpose of helping marketers out with these decisions. In fact, BtoB magazine has just released the results of a study sponsored by Eloqua. The study focuses primarily on B2B marketers, of course, and it searches for the best, most effective marketing tool for them to use. The overall results are a bit surprising, but understandable in the end.

In the magazine’s survey social media, which I expected to have the highest percentage of marketers behind it, was only the most useful marketing tool for 42 percent of respondents. However, ahead of social media, by a significant margin, was email marketing. Of the respondents in the survey of marketers, a total of 64 percent favored email for their marketing campaigns. In fact, it was email that has gained the number one spot among B2B marketers.

Below email and social media came customer case studies, PR and blogging with 31 percent of respondents reporting their effectiveness. Next, only about 28 percent of B2B respondents reported that search marketing worked for them. Another 28 percent of respondents preferred webinars and virtual events for marketing, apparently seeing the best results through them.

After those marketing tools, things got a different. Mobile, which is arguably the most popular topic of conversation among those following the evolution of the marketing world, was only reported by 10 percent of B2B marketers as a tool they think works best. Also, only 9 percent of marketers said that video portals worked for them; another surprise considering the popularity of video advertising seen with the rest of the web’s marketers. Even white papers, a tool that one would think would be most popular in B2B, were low in the ranks with only 15 percent of marketers getting excited about them.

In the end, it seems like email takes the cake for B2B marketers, which came as quite a surprise to me at first. This is mainly because of all the hype that social media platforms have been seeing these days, and how little hype email has been getting. But, after letting it sink it, it is easy to see how email could be the favorite for B2B marketers.

Social media is more of a B2C formatted marketing platform, with the majority of the social media user population being consumers. Email on the other hand, can go either way, and business marketers simply take advantage of a platform that is constantly in use in the business community anyway. Email has always been relatively reliable as a marketing source for B2B marketers, so why change anything?

What's your opinion?