US B2B marketing budgets rise

22 January 2014
CAMBRIDGE: B2B marketers in the US are expecting their budgets will rise in the coming year but not at a fast enough rate to meet all the demands that are being placed on them, a new report has said.

A joint study of CMOs by Forrester Research and the Business Marketing Association (BMA) found that on average B2B marketers were looking at a 6% increase in budgets in 2014. But Laura Ramos, Forrester VP and senior analyst, said budgets were still nowhere near the levels seen before 2009.

Just 33% of those surveyed anticipated a budget increase this year, while 45% hoped to remain on a par with 2013 and 22% were braced for a decrease.

In addition, 59% of respondents thought budgets would fragment further as they had to fund investment in new areas, such as automation and data analytics. And 61% expected that technology spend would take a greater share of the budget than marketing communication/program spend.

In part this was because buyers spent longer in research before contacting a sales person and businesses were looking for ways to get involved as early as possible in the purchase process, steering these people to websites and social media accounts.

"Business is just tightening its belt all around," Ramos told Advertising Age. "You have to really prove that you're going to return value to the business to get more budget money."

That meant CMOs should consider putting money into assets with a high re-use potential, whether industry specific sponsorships that could be leveraged across multiple programs or white papers that promoted though leadership and which could be divided into parts to provide content for blogs, infographics and websites.

With trade shows accounting for the biggest single budget allocation, at 20%, Forrester suggested that marketers might prioritise regional or industry-specific events over major conferences in order to get closer to their customers and build on personal interactions.

Then followed digital marketing on 13% and Ramos urged B2B marketers to optimise their spend in this channel to move beyond reach to achieve revenue and growth goals.

Other spending areas included content marketing (12%), websites (8%), agency fees (7%), direct marketing (6%), traditional advertising (6%) and PR (5%) with the remainder in an unspecified 'other' category.

Data sourced from Forrester Research, Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff
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