You’ve got to spend money to make money, or so the saying goes. But, as a leader of a B2B technology company, how much should you spend on marketing — and how should you allocate those dollars?
Some key B2B marketing trends, according to the August 2017 CMO Survey, include:
- B2B companies dedicate between 10.4 and 12.6% of their total budgets to marketing.
- B2B companies that sell services tend to outspend those that sell products.
- In both service and product categories, B2B marketers will continue shifting their dollars toward digital marketing.
- In the next five years, B2B marketers expect to increase dollars allocated to social media by 13.7% for product-oriented businesses and 16.1% for service-oriented businesses.
While these statistics may be helpful guides for B2B company leaders, it’s important to note there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation. What works in some industries and sectors will not automatically work for others. Leaders of B2B tech companies, for example, face some inherent challenges that may alter the scopes of their marketing budgets and allocations.
- B2B technology companies often sell products in the form of high-cost investments with have long and complicated sales cycles. Adopting new companywide technologies may change processes and procedures for buyers’ departments and employees. Thus, the decision to implement new technology may involve months or even a year or more of research and painstaking evaluations by prospects who want to ensure the benefits of adopting the technology outweigh the company changes it may present.
- Competition among tech companies is fierce. According to the CMO Survey, more than 60% of respondents in the technology, software, and biotech spaces forecast that the next 12 months will bring intense customer rivalry, competitor price cutting, and competitor innovation.
For B2B technology sales and marketing teams, this means it will be important to stand out among competitors. It also reveals that capturing prospects’ attention early in their buying cycles, then consistently maintaining meaningful engagement for the duration of what may be a very long decision-making process, is vital.
In prior decades, sales brochures, print advertising in trade journals, and the occasional friendly sales call may have sufficed. Today’s businesses — especially those with long sales cycles like B2B tech companies — must create consistent and authentic presences in the digital landscape to establish credibility and stay top of mind among prospects. They may best achieve this by adding a healthy mix of content marketing into the digital marketing portions of their budgets.
By employing the use of content — blogs, videos, whitepapers, photos, and more — via platforms like social media, tech company leaders can organically reinforce their marketing messages. And because good content is often shared content, consumers promote those messages virally through their own social networks. It’s a ripple effect that can extend content value well beyond its initial publication.
Sales teams who work in tandem with marketing teams to implement strategic content marketing have clear advantages to maintaining prospect engagement. As B2B tech companies decide how to divvy up the marketing pie, content marketing stands out as an exciting opportunity. Companies new to the concept shouldn’t fear the unknown. Content marketing is scalable and flexible, so start out small, measure results, and adjust accordingly.