What B2B Marketing Budget Trends Mean for CMO Evolution

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

A 2013 survey found that 45% of B2B companies are expecting to increase their marketing budgets in 2013. But, where are those budgets...

Allocating budget to the right areas of your marketing department can take time. Knowing which channels provide the most opportunity and the greatest ROI can help you make the most of the budget you have available -- and this is a BIG deal as many marketers understand that getting a lot of business budget isn't always easy. A 2013 survey from Sagefrog found that 45% of business-to-business (B2B) companies are expecting to increase their marketing budgets in 2013. But, where exactly are those budgets going? What do current budget trends mean for CMOs? Let's find out.

Related: The 2013 B2B Marketing Outlook and 3 Questions to Consider

B2B Marketing Budget Allocation

Spending budget in the right areas is a must. If your business fails to focus on the areas that provide the greatest ROI (whether your objective is engagement, leads, etc.) you'll be spending a lot and straining your resources. The top five areas of marketing spend, according to the survey's respondents are: website development, online marketing, tradeshows and events, email marketing and advertising.

When it comes to top lead sources for B2B marketers, Sagefrog found that referrals, tradeshows and events, and email marketing produced the most leads while telemarketing and direct mail produced the least. Budget is being directed to the areas that producing leads, which make sense since lead generation in general is big focus for B2B businesses and not just their marketing teams.

Driving ROI with Digital Marketing

Digital channels provide the highest ROI, according to survey respondents. Online marketing and email marketing are two of the top contenders while advertising, direct mail and telemarketing resulted in the lowest ROI. The popularity of marketing tactic may vary by company, but there are some commonalities amongst modern marketers. The areas that drive the greatest ROI, according to the

  • 85% have a business website
  • 72% use email marketing to reach their customers
  • 67% use social media to connect with buyers
  • 56% have a focus on SEO
  • 51% incorporate press releases into their marketing strategies

Related: Connect with your audience through content marketing and whitepaper distribution.

The Evolution of the B2B CMO

When technological advancements take place, so do advancements in advertising and marketing. This could mean the development of a brand new marketing medium. It could also mean new opportunities within current advertising or content distribution channels. However, small and medium-sized business budgets don't often evolve at the same pace. These trends in spend and ROI indicate where CMOs should be directing their attention and budget spend. A Forrester report found that

  • 97% of CMOs think marketing must do things that it hasn't done ever before to be successful.
  • 80% of CMOs feel more secure about their grasp of the skills needed to be successful in marketing.

When new networks, think about the rise of Pinterest and Instagram, begin to build followings and niche networks become even more influential in aiding buyers in their purchase process, CMOs have to pay attention to where and how their competitors are marketing and advertising products and services as well as where they can stand apart. More than ever, B2B CMOs have to flexible and agile to accommodate for planning cycles, purchase timelines and technology.

Related: Feeding the Flames of Email Marketing Success

Digital marketing is shifting; this is a fact. It is up to CMOs to see what marketing trends are taking place and to position themselves to make agile decisions on a moment's notice when a new trend rises or an anomaly in a current stream takes place. What the Sagefrog report shows is that different mediums may be effective, but, as the Forrester report indicates, top-notch CMOs have to be able to take these trends and then move forward to do things that haven't been done in order to be successful.

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