As you navigate your 2019 marketing initiatives, it’s always good to engage in regular benchmarking. We can all agree that there are lessons to be learned from comparing budgets, examining key trends and observing shared challenges with peers. Thank goodness for Spiceworks – the IT industry marketplace provider just made benchmarking a little bit easier for all of us, with a new published report on the state of B2B tech marketing. Here are my top six takeaways from the report for B2B email marketers:
- Budgets on the rise: Almost 80% of businesses expect their marketing budgets to increase or at least remain steady in 2019; those who plan to expand their budgets anticipate a healthy boost of 24%. The increases were even more pronounced in North America compared to Europe, which may be due to political uncertainties and the implications of Brexit. In addition, small companies with less than 100 employees were more likely to increase marketing spend. Finally, the report said that organizations typically allocate a significant 13% of their annual revenue to marketing – good to know if you are looking to request additional budget dollars this year.
- Top drivers for budget growth: Top drivers for budget growth include an overall increasing priority on marketing (51%), gathering new customers (48%) and growing company revenue (45%). These increases seem to indicate an acceptance by executive management that a greater investment in marketing can directly lead to more customers and revenue. Other factors, such as regulation changes and corporate tax cuts, were less likely to impact marketing budget increases.
- Email among top paid media strategies: Marketing technology and paid media investments are on the rise, and inbound marketing strategies such as search, social media and email dominated budget allocations. In addition, fewer organizations said they were allocating money to marketing channels such as print ads, direct mail and radio.
- IT spend fueling new martech purchases: As Spiceworks focuses its research on the IT spending realm, the report represents good news for B2B marketers, indicating that IT budgets are on the rise this year and next. This means IT spenders should be more inclined to invest in new marketing solutions.
- Email top lead and awareness generator: When it comes to marketing priorities this year, generating leads and acquiring new customers lands the top spot at a whopping 73%. Increasing brand awareness (39%) and cross-selling existing customers (32%) were distant second and third priorities. It’s clear that email marketers are in great shape when it comes to leading programs to drive revenue and customer growth. In addition, to generate leads, the majority of organizations are focusing their efforts on email (66%), tradeshows/events (61%) and paid search (57%). To meet their product awareness goals, companies are using a combination of email (44%), search (43%) tradeshows (39%) and paid social media (36%).
- Top challenges include measuring ROI and aligning sales and marketing: Almost half of the survey respondents put measuring ROI at the top of their challenge list, which may also explain the increase in marketing technology budgets. Additional challenges include driving conversions with marketing content and aligning sales and marketing efforts; this latter topic being a seemingly age-old hurdle faced by marketers for years. Top efforts to overcome this include aligning sales and marketing goals, coordinating activities and regular meetings.
The good news for B2B marketers is that budgets are growing as their efforts are being perceived as higher business priorities for the rest of 2019. Of course, email will continue to be a key driver for generating leads, increasing awareness, landing new customers and boosting overall revenue.
As we turn the page on a new quarter, how is your 2019 marketing program shaping up? Let us know if we can provide support.
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