Almost half of B2B demand gen and tech marketers expect their demand gen budgets to grow in the coming year, although perhaps not to quite the same extent as they forecast for this year, per results from the latest annual State of Demand Gen report [download page] from Activate, produced in partnership with Marketing Charts.
This year some 46% of respondents expect that their demand gen budget will grow either significantly or somewhat over the next 12 months. That’s the same share as had that expectation in last year’s survey, though this year more predict their budget will grow somewhat (40% versus 35%) while fewer forecast significant growth (6%, down from 11%).
Recent research indicates that North American CMOs’ budget outlook has rebounded, with B2B CMOs allocating the largest share of their budgets to demand gen.
For the second consecutive year in this latest research, smaller companies have a more enthusiastic outlook on demand gen budgets than their enterprise counterparts. Among respondents from companies with at least 5,000 employees, roughly one-third (35%) expect their demand gen budget to grow, while a majority (59%) predict they’ll stay flat. By contrast, among respondents from companies with fewer than 5,000 employees, a slim majority (51%) see a budget hike on the horizon, compared to around 4 in 10 (39%) who forecast their budgets to be flat.
These budgets will be spent with pipeline and revenue in mind, per the results, as the report notes that “revenue marketing dominates the landscape.” Asked which metric most closely describes how they define demand gen campaign success, some 45% share of respondents pointed to sourcing new pipeline opportunities/revenue. That was well ahead of the next-most cited choice, generating marketing-qualified leads (28%).
Previous research has found that the primary metric on which B2B organizations are measured is revenue sourced, while last year’s Activate and MarketingCharts study revealed that 8 in 10 respondents felt that in the future their demand gen KPIs would be even more closely tied to revenue.
About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 268 qualified B2B demand gen and tech marketers, 6 in 10 of whom work at companies with at least 500 employees and 93% of whom are based in the US or Canada.