One of the most demanding and complex responsibilities industrial marketers face is how to allocate their marketing budget. How to make optimal use of finite resources? Where to spend more? Where to spend less? How to ensure spending choices work together into an integrated whole?
Whether your marketing budget is small or large, investing it appropriately may seem like a daunting task, especially with top executives now holding marketers accountable for measurable results. You can increase your confidence in the spending decisions you make when you do these two things: (1) pay attention to market and spending trends, and (2) take advantage of tools that can help you allocate your budget.
Spending trends skew toward digital
First, some perspective on the growth in B2B marketing spending. The research firm Outsell estimated that 2016 will show a 5% increase in B2B spending, to $161 billion. The largest area of B2B spending is in digital. At $83 billion, digital B2B spending outweighs other B2B investments by two times or more. Question to consider: What percentage of your marketing spend is being allocated to digital channels?
Marketing spending in the industrial sector aligns with overall B2B trends. As technical professionals turn to the Internet first to find product and service information, it’s no surprise that a greater percentage of marketing program dollars are being shifted to online marketing. According to findings in the Industrial Marketing Trends Survey conducted by IEEE Engineering360 Media Solutions, the top areas of growth in marketing spend are:
• Content creation: 51%
• SEM: 44%
• Direct mail using in-house lists: 43%
• Social media: 43%
• Online directories/websites: 41%
• Webinars: 40%
Notice that four of the six growth areas are exclusively digital, and that a fifth—content creation—is the underpinning of digital content marketing efforts. The same survey found that, on average, 41% of industrial marketing budgets are spent online.
The fact that content creation is the fastest area of spending growth is to be expected. Engineers and technical professionals are constantly seeking relevant, educational content to help them do their jobs better and to enhance and streamline their buying processes. A survey jointly sponsored by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs—“2016 B2B Content Marketing Trends – North America”—found that on average, 28% of an organization’s total marketing budget (not including staff) is being spent on content marketing. More than half of respondents expect that budget to grow in the year ahead.
Email is another area of spending growth. Salesforce, in reporting on the state of B2B marketing, found that 58% of B2B marketers are increasing their email marketing spend, 73% believe email marketing is core to their business, and 65% state email marketing is a very effective/effective marketing channel.
These research findings offer solid benchmarks for you to compare your own marketing spend against. While you may not be perfectly aligned with trends—and may not need to be—you should know what other marketers across the industry are doing. You may want to make some adjustments to your spending for 2017.
Tools to help allocate your budget
The “2017 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit” is an essential resource to help you plan your marketing spend. It offers a number of tips and tools to help you plan and allocate your budget. The fourth quarter of the year is upon us, and it’s best to get started on budgeting now so that you are ready to launch your program when budgets are release in the new year.
With the “2017 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit”, you can chart your actual 2016 spending and projected 2017 spending on the 24 most popular digital and traditional marketing channels to gain a better understanding of your marketing mix and how it fits your goals as well as industry trends. The kit also offers a six-point checklist for success, shows how to measure the quality of contacts and inquiries, explains how the “Cross-Media Multiplier Effect” can improve your marketing results, and much more.
Download this valuable, complimentary resource today. Have it by your side as you begin planning your marketing spend for 2017.