B2B Marketing Budgets to Rise

As the recession fades, B2B operators that had slashed advertising and marketing are planning to increase those budgets this year. Some industries will put more money into marketing than others. And they’ll be measuring the returns on these investments carefully according to a new report from Forrester which was highlighted in a recent BtoBOnline column.

Jeff Ernst, principal analyst at Forrester and author of Forrester’s Bigger B2B Marketing Budgets Come With Great Expectations report, says “2011 is shaping up to be the turning point for marketing investment.”  Forrester data shows that while marketing budgets were cut by many businesses in 2010, the average B2B operator will boost spending in this category by 6.7%.

Ernst also noted that the tech sector has been the first industry to pump up ad spending as economic recoveries take hold. This pattern makes sense as many operators are still in the growth phase of the industry life cycle. This recovery is no exception. Tech companies will increase marketing expenditures by an average of 17% in 2011. IT companies have specific plans about the way they’ll increase spending:

  • Websites (content development): 69%
  • Social networks: 60%
  • Marketing supports/sales tools: 56%
  • Advertising: 47%
  • Direct marketing: 42%

Here’s how other industries are expected to increase ad spending this year:

  • Finance and insurance: 7.8%
  • High-tech products: 5.9%
  • Business/professional services: 4.3%
  • Manufacturing: 4.3%

The Forrester report found that some  B2B industries will increase marketing this year. A previous powerhouse, pharmaceuticals, is actually cutting back and will spend 2.8% less in 2011.

Predictably, smaller companies will be rising their ad budgets more than larger firms as they seek to increase their profile. For companies with between 100–499 employees, spending will jump 11.1% while firms with between 1,000–4,999 employees will allocate about 5.6% more to marketing.

ROI remains a focus of senior managers responsible for tracking this spending. For many, especially tech marketers, measuring the effectiveness of social media and digital marketing in general, remains a challenge.

[Source: Maddox, Kate. Studies show marketing budgets rising. BtoBOnline​.com. 4 Apr. 2011. Web. 11 Apr. 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.