5 Strategies for Setting a High-Impact B2B Marketing Budget
Marketing budgets can be a gamble, but they don’t have to be.
Marketing budgets can sometimes feel like a gamble. It can be challenging to know how much to invest, and where to invest it, to see the most significant ROI.
It’s no small investment, either: As Stéphane Vidal, Dir. Vice President, Product and Brand at D-BOX Technologies, explains, “In the B2B market, after employee salaries, marketing is usually one of (if not the biggest) expense for a company.” The CMO Survey found in 2022 that B2B industries, on average, allocate 7.8% of their revenue to marketing.
The best way to justify a greater marketing budget next year is to prove this year’s investment was successful.
With so much riding on a B2B marketing budget, it’s critical to leave as little as possible to chance, and instead implement a strategy that will significantly impact your organization. But what does that strategy look like?
You’re in luck. At Ideas Collide, we’ve helped countless clients build and deliver high-impact B2B marketing budgets over the years, and we’ve gathered some of our favorite strategies below. Read on to see which one is your best fit.
Why Do You Need a B2B Marketing Budget?
Before we jump into the strategies, let’s address a key question many marketing managers face: Why do you need a B2B marketing budget in the first place? Simply put, it’s a framework for investing on the front end, and a gauge to measure success on the backend. A marketing budget:
- Provides a clear direction for an organization’s marketing efforts
- Allows an organization to allocate limited resources effectively
- Establishes a basis for assessing results (ROI)
- Promotes coordination and planning across multiple departments within the organization
Align Your Budget to the Marketing Funnel
While commonly viewed through the lens of B2C marketing, the marketing funnel is equally applicable to B2B marketing. The marketing funnel outlines the journey of a brand’s target audience from awareness to conversion.
By aligning your marketing budget with this funnel, you dedicate most of your budget to the funnel’s larger sections (like awareness) and less to those at the bottom (retargeting/loyalty). This can be a reliable way to invest your budget, because awareness building is often one of a marketing campaign’s most expensive elements, while elements at the bottom of the funnel (such as emails, surveys, and other personalized touchpoints) are often inexpensive to update but can have a significant impact.
A budget breakdown following this strategy could look like:
- 40% Awareness (SEO, Google Display ads, paid social)
- 30% Consideration (website, case studies, organic social)
- 15% Conversion (demos, emails)
- 15% Loyalty (exclusive offers, surveys, support)
When utilizing this strategy, evaluate the best-performing channels and platforms, as these highlight your audience’s specific customer journey. Adjust your investments to prioritize these platforms and reduce your spending on those that don’t perform as well.
Never Fear Recycling Content
Creating unique content is expensive in terms of both financial investment and staff time/resources. It’s even more costly when you only use it once. Maximize your B2B marketing budget by finding opportunities to repurpose your existing content. Long-form videos can be cut down for social media or incorporated into emails. UGC can boost an awareness campaign with minimal investment. Case studies and infographics can be the basis for whitepapers or blogs.
When you need to create new content, try making things that will be valuable for at least two years and can be used across multiple platforms. This will help you build a library of content to draw from.
Apply the 70-20-10 Rule
Like life, marketing is all about balance. Always sticking to the same platforms can limit your investment’s growth potential. Committing the bulk of your budget to experimental channels often causes subpar ROI. Instead, consider the 70-20-10 rule when developing your B2B marketing budget.
As HubSpot explains, “Here, 70% of your marketing budget goes to proven strategies, 20% goes to new strategies, and 10% goes to experimental strategies, which could highlight opportunities for future growth.” In each category, assessing the channel’s performance is crucial. However, campaigns that once were top performers might start underperforming as your audience experiences fatigue — and over time, what was once an experimental channel may become a consistent performer. In both cases, shifting your investments helps optimize your returns.
Invest in Reporting
As the 2021 CMO Survey notes, “Pressure to prove the impact of marketing efforts is increasing, with 58.7% of marketing leaders reporting increased pressure from CEOs and 45.1% from CFOs.” As a result, it’s never been more important to prove ROI — and concrete data is a highly effective way of doing that.
While reporting may take place after the fact, investing in a reporting infrastructure upfront is crucial. LinkedIn’s Tequia Burt states, “Justifying ad spending comes down to the quality and volume of data you collect. Investing in solutions that enable better tracking and reporting will ensure you have the numbers you need to create reports that demonstrate the value of your team’s work.”
Keep in mind some of the most helpful reporting tools may not require a financial investment. Google Analytics is free*, incredibly powerful, and now with GA4, more robust than ever. Here, the investment is in the time you and your team need to learn the system, explore the information that can inform your business decisions, and dig deeper into the metrics detailing your performance.
(*GA4 360, the premium product, does come with a fee, but this is primarily meant for large enterprises and likely isn’t necessary for most organizations.)
Bring in the Experts
Sometimes, recruiting an agency is the best strategy for maximizing your marketing budget’s potential. An agency can fill in the gaps in your current team’s expertise, expand your team’s bandwidth when stretched thin, and often get better media rates than your organization could alone. In addition, per HubSpot, “Partnering with marketing agencies also gives you access to a team of specialists who may help you hit your goals faster and won’t waste your marketing budget.”
When investing in an agency, take into account what you’re saving in return:
- The cost of hiring new team members (including the intangible costs, like your team’s time throughout the hiring process)
- The risk of investing in underperforming channels
- The cost of reporting tools and time to collect data proving your ROI and justifying your expenses
At Ideas Collide, we’ve made a difference for many of our B2B clients. Take, for example, our work with Verra Mobility. Tasked with repositioning themselves within their investor community, we crafted a strategy to amplify the company’s presence at Investor Day. As a key piece of their overall marketing strategy, our work with Verra Mobility raised the company’s profile and solidified its reputation as an industry frontrunner.
When executing a high-impact B2B marketing budget, your strategy is your north star. It will determine where you invest your funds, what content you’ll create, and how you’ll justify your expenditures. Why leave that up to chance?
Our B2B marketing experts are eager to develop a marketing budget strategy that helps you meet your objectives. Drop us a line today, and see how we can be an extension of your team.
Pressure to prove the impact of marketing efforts is increasing, with 58.7% of marketing leaders reporting increased pressure from CEOs and 45.1% from CFOs