Where Are the Marketing Dollars Going?

Marketing budgets are on the rise thanks to digital technologies. However, where marketers are investing their dollars isn't as clear.

Signs point to marketers opening up their wallets for emerging digital technologies, placing bets on measurable channels such as email, search and social media, shifting resources toward consumer-facing technology, and spending wads of cash on content creation and aggregation.

But success is far from certain.

There's no question marketing budgets are on the rise. More than half of business-to-business marketers expect their budgets to increase this year, compared to 31 percent of respondents who expected budgets to increase last year, according to a Forrester survey.

What's Driving the Budget Increase?

What's behind the increase in spending? Nine out of 10 marketers say digital marketing technologies, which make up a chunk of business technology (BT), are critical to success.

"The CIO of one of the largest banks told me, 'I have unlimited budget for the BT agenda," Forrester CEO, George Colony, told attendees at Dreamforce last year.

Of course, the spike in marketing tech spending has attracted tech giants such as Oracle, which has been on a $3 billion marketing-tech acquisition spree, as well as a plethora of startups. Venture capitalists, too, are rushing to this feeding frenzy.

"In most companies, a CMO can write a million-dollar [operating expense] commitment in a heartbeat," Ashu Garg, general partner at Foundation Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm boasting big wins with marketing tech investments, told CIO.com last fall.

Follow the Money (or Try to)

Exactly where marketers are putting their dollars, though, isn't clear.

For instance, a survey from Autopilot found that website, search engine optimization, branding and social media technologies are priority areas, not so much marketing automation. In contrast, a Forrester survey found that marketers' top focus in terms of their budget is email marketing, followed by search marketing and display advertising.

The Forrester survey shows marketers directing their budgets on "measurable efficiency channels." However, a survey commissioned by Leapfrog Marketing Institute found that marketers plan to shift their budgets from channel and product-focused initiatives to consumer-focused ones, such as customer acquisition, retention, loyalty and CRM.

Forrester: Customer analytics still immature across the region
Technology and marketing disconnect hinders customer analytics success

Another murky area is a marketer's return on investment.

Many loaded guns are leveled at a marketer's chances of success, according to Forrester. As with any emerging technology, the right skills are hard to find. Only 43 percent of marketers say they are able to find and hire people with the digital marketing skills they need.

The Realities of Digital Disruption

Marketers have also waded into unfamiliar technical waters. In other words, marketing technology and data analysis have upended their profession. Most marketers are still trying to wrap their heads around the complexities of technology and trying to separate hype from reality. Hence, there's a real fear of failure.

Perhaps most frightening of all, the majority of marketers don't really have a plan. They're making reactive marketing tech decisions rather than strategic ones. In fact, Forrester says only 44 percent have a clearly defined and deployed digital strategy.

The bottom line: Lots of scatter-shot marketing dollars hang in the balance, while returns may prove to be elusive.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Launch marketing council Episode 5: Retailer and supplier

In our fifth and final episode, we delve into the relationship between retailer and supplier and how it drives and influences launch marketing strategies and success. To do that, we’re joined by Campbell Davies, group general manager of Associated Retailers Limited, and Kristin Viccars, marketing director A/NZ, Apex Tool Group. Also featured are Five by Five Global managing director, Matt Lawton, and CMO’s Nadia Cameron.

More Videos

Great read. I agree that it should be a perfect balance between interacting with your customers and knowing your brand. As a business, yo...

Caroline Scott

7 ways CMOs can improve their customer engagement game

Read more

Very true. Team development helps improve collaboration among the team members. I was able to improve my team's collaboration skills by t...

Quent Sinder

Why empowering others can help make you a great leader

Read more

CRM is a very good software that can help you succeed in your business. In my company, this system has allowed me to improve customer rel...

Anna Janicka

Sensis rebrands to Thryv and brings business software to Australian SMBs

Read more

AI Leasing Assistants have finally arrived for the multifamily industry. With so many to choose from it can be hard to figure out which i...

Alice Labs Pte. Ltd.

CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 6 May 2021

Read more

Nowadays, when everything is being done online, it is good to know that someone is trying to make an improvement. As a company, you are o...

Marcus

10 lessons Telstra has learnt through its T22 transformation

Read more

Blog Posts

Why if marketing is all you do, you’ll never be very good at it

OK, so you’re probably thinking: “Here comes another article to badger me about living in my bubble.” And also, “I bet this bubble-bashing piece will go on to explain how I can achieve better results through some heady dose of new life experiences, new routines and annoyingly different opinions on social media.”

Dane Smith

Behavioural science lead and regional consulting partner, Ogilvy

A leader’s role in rebuilding a culture of confidence

Every day, there are new predictions and studies on the future of work, the state of the economy and the unfolding global pandemic. All of which creates uncertainty and heightens the imperative of effective leadership.

Michelle Gibbings

Workplace expert, author

Confused About Your Customers?​

​I've worked in brand and marketing for more than 20 years. But there’s one area where I’ve found myself going around in circles and I must admit I'm becoming increasingly confused.

Rich Curtis

CEO, FutureBrand A/NZ

Sign in