How can B2B marketers weigh confidence for the future with adequate caution and still plan thoroughly for 2022 budgeting success?
Confidence is rising for 2022 marketing spending, and as B2B brands move forward after the turmoil and uncertainty of the pandemic, savvy marketers benefit from embracing budgeting optimism while simultaneously seasoning budgeting strategy with a healthy dose of vigilance and care.
Digital advertising budget optimism has risen significantly since the initial months of the global health crisis, and recent report data is showing this increased confidence.
A net 76 percent of marketers plan to expand their media budget for digital video during 2022, representing the top area of media expansion planned for next year, followed by branded content by influencers at 71 percent and social media story ads at 70 percent — several of many statistics of interest to B2B marketers contained in recently-released budget trend survey data from Kantar and MarketingCharts.
When it comes to B2B-specific digital advertising spending, 2021 will see a jump of 25 percent, according to eMarketer’s U.S. B2B Advertising Forecast data, and there has been a shift from search spending to display advertising, newly-released data from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) shows.
According to data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), some 61 percent of U.S. advertising executives are confident or very confident in the stability of their advertising budget for the rest of 2021 — sharply higher than the 22 percent who expressed the same levels of confidence in November of 2020.
Our own groundbreaking report, the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, revealed that B2B brands expected influencer marketing to weather the pandemic better than other forms of marketing. 90 percent of B2B brands said that they expected their budget for influencer marketing to increase or stay the same. If you’re currently among those utilizing B2B influencer marketing and haven’t yet taken our 2021 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Survey, make your voice heard and take a few minutes to complete it.
The recently-released twelfth annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends research report from Content Marketing Institute (CMI), MarketingProfs, and ON24 also offers a look at budgeting trends. 75 percent of those at the most successful organizations expect content marketing budgets to increase in 2022. We took a look at this report recently in, “10 Actionable B2B Content Marketing Insights From New Research.”
Where does this all lead for B2B marketers looking to prepare for these changes and build a successful 2022 marketing budget?
Let’s step right up and examine five practical tips that will make your 2022 marketing budget a successful one.
1 — Strong Budgets Maximize ROI
Strong budget strategy pays attention to maximizing return on investment (ROI), through frequent performance monitoring and the ability to quickly jettison under-performing marketing elements.
Measurement is key for learning what’s working and what isn’t, and for finding emerging growth opportunities. Having accurate performance data at hand can make budget decisions that much easier, yet many firms struggle with data overload — or worse yet — lack of any relevant performance data.
Staying on top of the latest research to identify industry trends helps drive successful ad campaigns and typically leads to more informed business insights and budgeting decisions. B2B marketing industry news sources, such as our long-running weekly TopRank Marketing digital marketing news each Friday, can help marketers stay abreast of the shifts that show how budgets are being affected throughout the industry.
Despite their best efforts, B2B marketers can find themselves facing forecasting difficulties, and often also come up against varying budgeting requirements among organizations. Keeping the future needs of marketers in mind, or even potential needs, can pay off, as Steve Petersen, marketing technology operations manager at subscription-as-a-service (SaaS) platform Zuora recently shared with MarTech. “Marketers should think ahead to what they and their fellow marketers will potentially need in the next year or so. While they may not know specifics yet, if budget hasn’t been set aside for such needs, acquiring new tech at the desired time will likely prove difficult,” Petersen observed.
2 — Efficiency is a Timeless Investment
Budgets can oftentimes achieve higher levels of efficiency when the decision is made to partner with an agency — and with more report data than ever showing the benefits of such partnerships, in 2022 we’re likely to see even more of those looking to maximize their budget ROI begin new agency partnerships.
Indeed, the previously mentioned CMI, MarketingProfs, and ON24 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends research report shows that 65 percent of B2B content marketers have said that finding partners with adequate topical expertise is their top challenge. A full 40 percent also said that budget issues were their top challenge, a decrease from 51 percent in 2020, yet still a major issue faced by B2B marketers today.
Overall, some 66 percent of the B2B content marketers surveyed expected their 2022 content marketing budget to increase from 2021 levels.
Getting the most marketing bang-for-the-buck is where the efficiency of forming agency partnerships really shines.
Greater alignment with brand priorities brings increased value to agency partnerships, according to Forrester report data, which also showed that some 75 percent of brand decision-makers were satisfied or very satisfied with their agency rosters, and that over the next three years more functions are expected to be performed by external agencies.
3 — Agility & Swift-Footedness Speed Budget Planning Cycles
As our own vice president of client accounts Alexis Hall has encouraged in articles such as “Planning for Change: How to Set Your 2021 Marketing Budget,” an agile and swift-footed approach to budget planning cycles offers numerous benefits — a strategy that will be as valuable as ever in 2022.
Flexibility will be every bit as important in 2022 as it was during the most uncertain times over the past two unprecedented years, and savvy marketing budget planners have become aware that tactics aren’t ever likely to return to the way they were.
With the market changing as rapidly as ever, and digital marketing shifts taking place daily — especially when it comes to social media platforms and advertising opportunities — a swift yet flexible budget planning cycle is crucial.
Successful marketing budget plans are able to adjust on the fly to take into account industry changes, often accomplished through having annual, quarterly, monthly, or even more frequent reviews.
Long-range budget planning on the annual level holds its own value, focusing on big goals, while more frequent reviews utilize a range of leading indicators, and together such reviews help budgets scale up or down as necessary.
Optimizing and refining 2022 budgets offer many advantages, as James Delande, director of product marketing at enterprise software firm BrandMaker, recently told MarTech. “Finance and budget management allows organizations to plan, iterate, control and optimize budgets and spends aligned to their major strategic objectives,” Delande said. “This empowers CMOs, CFOs, and CEOs and their teams to optimize projects, saving time and money while improving efficiency, agility and performance,” Delande added.
4 — Build & Benefit From Long Term Brand Investment
B2B marketers are keenly aware of often lengthy buyer journeys, and when it comes to budgeting the same long-term outlook can successfully be incorporated.
Budgets that allow for a regular cadence of marketing messages to continue on a long-term basis can be critical to success in the B2B environment, where always-on marketing efforts that utilize the power of influence have proven especially effective.
Budgeting, too, should have a long-term scope element, to keep the bigger picture and major goals on track.
“89% of B2B marketers implementing always-on influencer programs expect their budgets to increase or remain the same vs. 73% for marketers running campaign-based programs.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden Click To Tweet
5 — With Loss Comes Newfound Opportunity
When planned or unforeseen budget cuts come down the pike, it can be a great time to reassess past strategy and place newfound energy into opportunities ahead.
By overcoming the challenges we’ve all faced over the past years, B2B marketers have gained a new type of resiliency and strength — qualities that may take time and reflection to fully appreciate.
As we reach the end of 2021, it’s helpful to look back and reflect on the marketing hurdles we’ve faced and overcome during the past year, whether in budgeting or elsewhere, and use both our successes and failures to bring a fresh zest to 2022 efforts.
Some find that making a comprehensive list of the obstacles they have survived helps to bring into clearer focus the progress that will infuse our 2022 marketing budget efforts with new strength and opportunity.
Strong Budgeting Creates Long-Term B2B Marketing Successes
When well-executed budgeting collides with smart planning and preparation, B2B marketers can achieve an energy that’s greater than the sum of all its individual elements.
Even the best planning can face unforeseen challenges, as the world has witnessed since the global health crisis began. With a robust budget strategy in place, however — one that is open and pliable enough when such obstacles arise — you’ll be ahead of the game in making needed adjustments.
By using the five elements we’ve explored — maximizing ROI and efficiency, the power of agility, holding a long-term outlook, and being open to new opportunities — in 2022 B2B marketers can be well-positioned ahead of the competition and poised for marketing budget success.
No matter how you slice it, creating award-winning B2B marketing takes considerable time and effort, which is why many firms choose to work with a top digital marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing. Contact us today to learn how we can help, as we’ve done for businesses ranging from LinkedIn, Dell and 3M to Adobe, Oracle, monday.com and others.