Customer-obsessed marketing

B2B Marketing Budgets Put New Emphasis On Talent And Technology

Laura Ramos
Vice President, Principal Analyst
June 2, 2017

Question: What do a B2B marketing leader with plenty of money and resources and the Jersey Devil have in common?

Answer: Neither exists.

And in 2016, neither do big B2B marketing budget increases.

Forrester’s recent report “Conflicting B2B Marketing Priorities Threaten To Derail Program Progress” (subscription required) takes a closer look at some of the difficult choices B2B marketing execs must make to apportion limited budgets wisely. When 62% of B2B marketing leaders tell us that improving marketing returns on investment is a critical priority, these static budgets are forcing them to rethink personnel and technology spending in a effort to recalibrate programs against business objectives.

Interestingly, our survey data shows how B2B marketing execs — at the same time — are taking on responsibilities once within the scope of organizations like sales enablement, channel, and product marketing. The pendulum seems to be swinging back towards centralization since product marketing headcount (on average) now tops the list of those reporting into the CMO's organization. An uptick in new technology investments like analytics, data management, social listening, and engagement platforms — plus continued investment in L2RM tech and process — show that a push to further modernize marketing is underway. Directing overall budget dollars at headcount and technology puts marketing in a better position to positively impact pipeline activity, deepen customer relationships, and drive toward revenue goals as opposed to just buffing up the brand.

When making strategic budget shifts toward people and technology, B2B marketing head must recognize the perils of having “too flat” of an organization or of gobbling up more tech than they can digest. When the boss takes on more responsibility, it doesn't necessarily follow that the average marketer will be able to do so as well. Recent budget data shows B2B marketing’s commitment to accountability and top-line growth requires new ability to balance headcount, invest in tools, and spend on programs — all against achieving business goals — but not stretching both the CMO and their organization too thin as to render it ineffective.

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