B2B Marketing Budget Allocation: Insights and Breakdown

As B2B marketing teams begin budget planning, there's no question that the global pandemic has changed the marketing landscape. Although we're seeing trade shows and networking events slowly making their way back, there are more users working from home and more virtual meetings. Changed workplace habits have an effect on how marketing teams prioritize initiatives and where they spend budgeted dollars.

What does this mean for digital marketing spend in 2021-2022, and how should you plan to allocate your B2B marketing budget for the best ROI? Here, we explore insights and walk through three tips you should keep in mind when creating your budget.

The Impact of COVID-19 on B2B Marketing Budget Allocation

According to McKinsey, five years worth of projected business digitization was realized in just eight weeks—and there is no regression in the face of such progress. This digital adoption has resulted in greater digital outreach from business to customers and intended audiences, putting marketing teams in the spotlight. More than 70% of CMOs in a February 2021 survey stated that marketing was more important than ever, with B2B organizations showing strong customer acquisition objectives.

What does this mean for marketing teams? As digital outreach and customer acquisition become prioritized, marketers will need to reallocate their budgets to reflect those priorities. This could also be why marketing teams have shifted gears and prioritized martech investments in 2021—particularly in AI-driven technologies.

According to Gartner, although nearly 45% of CMOs faced midyear budget cuts in 2020, they managed to protect digital channels and MarTech investments. In fact, technology spend accounted for the largest portion of marketing budgets in 2020, with 68% of CMOs expecting MarTech investments to increase in 2021. Another report states that 89% of marketers plan to spend more on technology in 2021 than they did in 2020, with 59% stating that AI capabilities are “extremely important” for achieving marketing priorities.

As your team analyzes past performance to predict trends and shape your budget, keep these insights in mind. AI-driven MarTech investments — and particularly those that support customer and lead acquisition — will have considerable stake in 2021–2022 B2B marketing budgets.

Tip #1: Analyze Past Performance

The pandemic pause means that past performance isn’t necessarily the indicator it once was for future planning — but analysis is still a valuable tool as you plan a path forward. Try starting with things that have remained constant over the past 18 months, and build out a plan for leveraging that knowledge as part of a new era of campaign development.

Consider your company’s current position in the market, and where there is room to expand. Align your sales and marketing departments with your R&D and product teams to identify new opportunities that may be coming up in the near future as the world settles into its new normal.

What are your revenue targets? Where are your target clients? How can you leverage what you’ve learned to your advantage? By identifying new areas of potential growth, you can position yourself to step ahead of your competition and potentially branch into verticals with burgeoning demand.

Marketing Goals Meeting

Tip #2: Get Clear On Your Marketing Goals

What are you trying to accomplish? You’ll want to prioritize those goals and allocate resources accordingly. Most B2B organizations are focusing on the following four objectives:

Increasing Leads

Bringing in new business is an obvious priority. Identifying high-value accounts, personalizing your ad messaging, and developing lead nurture campaigns can help create stronger relationships with your audience.

Plan on multi-channel budget allocation and increased MarTech investment to help identify leads, enhance the amount of data you have on in-market buyers, and automate workflows to free you up for strategic decision-making.

To read more on lead generation strategies, check out our blog, “7 Lead Generation Strategies Supercharged With a Data-Driven Approach.”

Converting Leads to Customers

Your B2B leads can be incredibly hot, but if you can’t convert them, your competitors will be the ones making bank. Develop personalized campaigns that focus on highly segmented audiences and use them to drive conversions. SaaS solutions can help your team members maintain connections while you close deals with top level decision-makers.

Don’t forget to track the lifetime value of long-term B2B customers and use that data to develop lookalike audiences that can yield the same types of returns. Level up to higher net worth accounts in the same vertical while branching out to similarly positioned buyers in adjacent industries to accelerate your organizational growth.

Tip #3: Create a tangible action plan

Goals are great, but you need to have a clear plan of action. Plan out the deliverables that demonstrate a pathway to your overall goals. If you want to increase leads, how will you do that? By producing video content and blogs for SEO? By creating thought leadership pieces to demonstrate your expertise? Below are two key areas you may want to consider.

Increasing Brand Awareness

Position your brand as a partner worth having in the brave new world.

For this initiative, you might invest in social platforms and allocate some of your B2B marketing budget to video. The future of advertising is visual and consumable video is one of the most impact-heavy tools for raising brand awareness—and even for generating leads. According to a recent survey:

  • 84% of video marketers say that video has been effective for generating leads.
  • 94% of marketers say that videos have helped increase user understanding of their product or service.
  • 91% of marketers feel the pandemic has made video more important for brands.

Visual digital media, like video, is the perfect medium for personalizing messaging to your audience.

Producing Thought Leadership

Owned assets can be B2B marketing gold, but only if your company is seen as a trusted source of information. Forbes points out the trust gap in B2B marketing and notes that the path to becoming a trusted thought leader lies in creating conversations.

Leverage relationships with partners and vendors to develop content that presents information without an agenda, positioning your company as a source of trusted, data-driven facts. These can be leveraged as representation for your brand, providing jumping off points for contact without feeling like a simple conduit for sales pitches.

Tip #4: Maximize ROI on MarTech Investments With the Right Data

MarTech investment can be extremely useful across multiple areas as you develop your marketing strategies. Investments in AI-driven platforms, SaaS, and ABM tools are almost certain to pay off if you leverage them correctly. Marketing technology accounts for the largest chunk of the average marketing budget, with companies allocating more than a quarter of their annual spend to MarTech, according to Gartner. However, the average marketer is only using 58% of their current technological capabilities.

Investing in Martech is only the first step. Properly deploying the tools is how your organization can rise above the competition. Focus on technologies that help you land high value accounts and increase revenue both short- and long-term. Understanding more about your customer and potential customers is critical when it comes to supporting the top four marketing goals we mentioned: increasing leads, converting leads to customers, personalized messaging to increase brand awareness, and efficient thought leadership strategy.

DealSignal’s AI-driven data platform helps you reliably capture lead data from across the web, find in-market buyers with intent, enrich data on each lead for personalized targeting, and improve ABM effectiveness to land B2B accounts that will take your company to the next level.

Automation frees up your time so you spend fewer hours on dreaded manual tasks, and more time on strategic activities that grow your company’s footprint. Data enrichment gives you everything you could possibly want to know about accounts and contacts to help you drive campaign customization and position your brand more effectively.

Planning your marketing budget allocations for the next quarter or year? Schedule your free demo today and find out why DealSignal is becoming a top MarTech investment for B2B marketers.

Peter Garza

Peter Garza is CMO, Advisor, and Consultant for DealSignal. With over 15 years of marketing leadership experience, Peter has proven expertise in building and leading modern, high-performing marketing organizations to deliver record levels of growth, revenue, and profitability.

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