Eight in 10 B2B marketers at technology companies expect their budgets to increase or remain the same, according to a Spiceworks survey of more than 350 B2B tech companies across North America and Europe.
Of the 37% of who plan to increase their marketing budgets, more than half (51%) pointed to an increased priority on marketing as a driving factor. This corresponds with CMOs seeing their role as having increased in importance significantly, with marketing now being charged with generating more growth overall.
Other top factors leading to marketing budget increases include customer expansion (48%), increased company revenue (45%) and product expansion (42%). Factors less likely to influence an increase in marketing budgets are changes in regulations (5%) and corporate tax cuts (3%).
Majority of Budgets Allocated to Paid Media and Events
How exactly are B2B tech marketing budgets being allocated for 2019? The largest proportion, almost one-third (30%), is being allocated to paid media. Breaking this down, paid search is receiving the largest portion of paid media budgets followed by social media marketing.
Events are taking up the next-largest percentage of marketing budgets, at an estimated 22% share of spend this year. Previous research has likewise found that events draw a large proportion of B2B budgets, as they are seen as a key way to drive sales revenue.
MarTech will receive a similar portion of the budget (21%) as events. With martech becoming increasingly important even within areas such as event marketing, where technology is being used more frequently to enhance exhibitions and corporate events, half (51%) of the organizations surveyed report that they have increased their budget in this category from last year.
Regionally, there is little difference between the percentage of budgets being spent on martech. However, 1 in 2 North American organizations plan on increasing their martech budget compared to 39% of organizations in Europe, possibly indicating an impact from both increased regulation (e.g. GDPR) and political uncertainty in the region.
External Agencies Remain About the Same
While many marketers are moving their agency business in-house, external agencies are still being allocated nearly one-fifth (19%) of B2B tech marketers’ budgets. However, only about a one-third (32%) of organizations plan to increase their external agency budget from last year, with half making no changes and 16% decreasing how much of their budget they will allocate externally.
Creative partners (30%) and advertising/digital marketers partners (27%) receive the largest proportion of external agency budgets. Combined, these areas are allocated more than half of the total budget for external support.
The Year Ahead
When it comes to B2B marketing in the year ahead, budgets are growing and stable — thanks primarily to organizations ranking marketing as a higher priority in 2019. And with recent customer and revenue growth, marketers are prepared to keep the momentum going by spending the bulk of their funds on paid media, namely search marketing and paid social. It’s all part of an effort to meet their primary goal for the new year: generate leads and acquire new customers.
Regarding trends, marketers will continue their current focus on ABM, video marketing, and on-demand content, but many also plan to add influencer marketing and purchase-intent targeting to the mix. Measuring marketing ROI, driving conversions with marketing content, and aligning marketing and sales efforts will continue to challenge marketers in the new year. However, the majority of businesses are poised to unite sales and marketing teams by aligning their goals and coordinating their activities to blast through obstacles and meet their objectives in 2019.
More survey results can be found here.
About the Data: Spicework’s The 2019 State of IT is comprised of insights and data from a survey of 352 B2B marketers from technology companies across North America and Europe, conducted in October 2018. Company sizes ranged from 49% having less than 100 employees, 25% with 100 to 999 employees, and the remainder working at companies with 1,000+ employees.