B2B Marketers Up Ad Budgets, Focus on Digital

Marketing budgets that were sliced during the recession are beginning to grow again in the B2B sector. At the same time, many operators anticipate shifting a significant percentage of their spending to the digital format, especially social media. And in a sign that that economic expansion is taking hold, 65.7% of B2B marketers are planning new-​campaign activity this year.

According to BtoB's “2011 Outlook: Marketing Priorities and Plans” survey, over half of B2B marketers plan to increase spending this year. This group also intends to shift more of their marketing budgets to the online universe. Up to 1/​3rd of B2B marketers will allocate nearly 50% of their budget to online because the format is less expensive and provides easier ways to measure ROI. In addition, marketers do not want to miss out on what Michael Metz, senior director-​Web marketing and strategy at Cisco Systems calls “a period of revolutionary change for the world of marketing overall.” Many experts also believe that B2B this year will become more emotional and personal. Of the B2B world, says Marty Homlish, global CMO at software company SAP, “people are still selling to people.” The online formats, especially social media, may allow for that more personalized appeal.

This sector will rely more heavily on database-​driven marketing. Because more data is now available online, businesses have the opportunity to collect information and be more scientific about how they will reach prospects and measure the results of those efforts to streamline expenses.

B2B operators will move beyond experimenting with social media and look for ways to optimize spending in this channel. Some social media experts believe that the channel may become more cost-​effective than search engine marketing this year.

Content marketing will comprise nearly 26% of B2B marketing expenditures this year. Businesses will be looking for customers, media companies, staffers and agencies to generate this content.  While this content will be available through traditional websites, companies will be pushing some of the information out to mobile apps.

[Sources: Maddox, Kate. Online get bulk of increased marketing budgets. BtoBOnline​.com. 17 Jan. 2011. Web. 24 Jan. 2011; Maddox, Kate. Outlook 2011. BtoBOnline​.com. 17 Jan. 2011. Web. 24 Jan. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.