Roughly 1 in 2 (52.5% of) B2B marketers expect to increase their marketing budgets this year, per results from Advertising Age’s 2014 BtoB Outlook: Marketing Priorities and Plans survey. That’s a slightly larger proportion than last year (48.7%), although budget increases are forecast to be relatively minor: only 36.4% of respondents plan an increase greater than 10%. The B2B sector appears to be following the broad shift in marketing spending from traditional to digital: this year, 38.7% of B2B marketers will devote at least 30% of their budgets on digital, up from 30% last year. Indeed, about 8 in 10 respondents plan to increase their digital spending, an increase of 13% points from last year’s survey.
B2B marketers also seem to be following the returns: roughly half half will increase their event budgets (a 7.2% point increase in respondents from last year), as trade shows and events are increasingly celebrated for their strong ROI.
Interestingly, a greater proportion of respondents this year will increase their telemarketing budgets, although fewer than one-quarter will do so. Otherwise, there hasn’t been much of a change in the share of marketers expecting to increase their traditional media budgets.
When it comes to online spending, a larger share of respondents this year plan increases almost across the board, with websites the only exception. One of the big movers appears to be video, with more than 6 in 10 planning an increase in spending, a 7.9% point increase in respondents from last year. Roughly half also expect to spend more on webcasts and webinars, up 9.4% points from the 2013 survey.
The shift towards digital also shows up in respondents’ content marketing efforts, which 3 in 4 marketers are planning to invest more in. This year’s survey registered a 12% point increase in the proportion of respondents planning to deploy content marketing on social platforms and a 9% point increase in the share who will use mobile for content marketing. By contrast, there’s been a 10% point drop in the share of respondents this year plan to use print strategies for their content marketing efforts. (More on B2B content marketing trends here.)
Finally, although fewer than 4 in 10 B2B marketers currently use mobile as part of their marketing strategy, almost half said that it is extremely important for their organizations to advertise on mobile this year.
About the Data: The data is based on a survey conducted during November and December among 364 B2B marketers.
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