February 27, 2014 E3

B2B Digital Marketing Budgets Trending Upward: Where Will You Spend Yours?

Earlier this month, AdAge released the results of its annual B2B Marketing Outlook Survey.  Their findings indicate that B2B digital marketing budgets will rise in 2014, especially for video and social media.  According to the survey, a staggering 80% respondents say their budgets are going to go up this year, a 13% increase over the year before.

Where Will Increased B2B Digital Marketing Budget Dollars Go?

The survey also shows that the only traditional forms of marketing that will see an increase in the B2B world this year are events and telemarketing. Two-thirds of respondents said they expect to spend  at least 25% of their budget on digital marketing, and just around 10% indicated that their digital marketing budget will take up 75 to 100% of their total marketing spend.

AdAge Chart 1

One of the most telling questions AdAge asked respondents was, for the following platforms, in which do you plan an increase spending on this year?  The numbers in the bubbles atop the bars show changes year to year. The bars themselves represent the percentage of respondents who indicated that they will be increasing spend in that area.  So while website spending appears to be going down 4%, most respondents still indicate they will be shoveling more money into their company site this year.

AdAge Chart 2

The biggest winners:

  1. Web
  2. Email
  3. Video
  4. Social media
  5. Search
  6. Webcasts and webinars
  7. Mobile
  8. Banners
  9. Sponsorships

The digital marketing format with the biggest increase appears to be webcasts and webinars, a form of streaming video marketing. If you consider webinars to be streaming video, and you combine that category with video marketing, video becomes the category for the highest predicted increase in budget for B2B digital marketing budgets for next year.

This comes as no surprise, since more and more executives are using video in their decision making process.

How To Make the Most of Your B2B Digital Marketing Budget in 2014

This trend also indicates that budgets may be a bit more fragmented than they have been in the past. As B2B companies decide to focus more on digital marketing, it’s going to be tough for CMOs to determine where exactly to spend their increased budgets.

As you determine how to get the most for your money and efforts, consider:

  1. Creating a portfolio of assets that can be reused and repurposed.  As you plan your year, focus efforts on generating assets that can easily be reused or repurposed by different departments.  When your sales team can easily leverage your content in the field, your marketing dollars will go farther.  When you develop white papers, structure them in a way that they can be easily broken down into blog posts, or combined into an eBook.  All of these text-based forms of content can also be easily turned into video, as well.
  2. Focusing on more than collateral. A strong portfolio of product and service collateral is important, yes. But in 2014, it might be time to consider moving into thought leadership. Research papers, customer-centered storytelling, and other forward-thinking projects can increase engagement with your target customer.
  3. Structuring each new piece of content for several formats. Many B2B companies plan videos, white papers, social media, and web content individually. After a video is created, the social media team has to figure out the best way to integrate it into their plan. These departments are not islands unto themselves. As you plan your marketing calendar, and as you settle on a piece of content, decide in that moment how you will restructure it for social media, your website, etc. All content creation teams must work together to get the most of everything you generate.
  4. Beginning with the end in mind. If you are going to use your new budget to dip your toes into new territories, do so with a plan. Don’t just begin a social campaign with the goal of gaining new followers. Don’t create a YouTube channel with the goal of getting thousands of views. Know precisely what your goal is for each new channel you venture into, so that you can accurately measure results.

If your organization is increasing marketing spend this year, and even if your budget remains flat, getting the most out of your digital marketing budget means making creative yet effective choices.

Did you see your B2B digital marketing budget increase for 2014?  If so, do your plans fall in line with the results of the AdAge survey? Where will you be focusing your money and your efforts this year? Let us know in the comments.

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