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Research Alert: B2B Marketing Budgets Surge

Research Alert: B2B Marketing Budgets Surge

This soaring eagle represents how B2B marketing budgets are increasing and giving CMOs more spending power.

B2B marketing budgets are on the rise worldwide. The trend is expected to increase in the coming years, new research reveals.

Business-to-business (B2B) marketers are largely optimistic about the future, according to a recent LinkedIn/Ipsos report. “The B2B Marketing Benchmark” surveyed 1,954 B2B leaders in eight countries, including the United States. Six in 10 said their budgets increased between 2022 and 2023. More than two-thirds of those surveyed said their budgets will increase in 2024.

B2B marketing budgets fuel spending power

In turn, bigger budgets will give B2B leaders the flexibility to expand their brands’ influence and reach. About 50% of those surveyed believe they’ll be able to drive revenue next year. Not surprisingly, lead generation is their top priority. The tech sector put generating new business first (85%), followed by:

  • Financial services (70%)
  • Professional services (68%)
  • Health (67%)
  • Education (59%)

Amplifying brand awareness

B2B leaders are also setting their sights on brand-building efforts to generate revenue. More than 60% said their businesses have increased spending on brand awareness, LinkedIn/Ipsos found. On the other hand, the study revealed that their marketing campaigns favor product promotion (62%) over brand-building (37%).

Top challenge: Acquiring new clients

While B2B companies recognize the importance of adding new clients, they may not have clear strategies for doing so. Chief marketing officers (CMOs) across the globe cited customer acquisition as their top challenge. In the absence of a “silver bullet strategy” for lead generation, B2B firms are investing in the full prospect funnel, according to LinkedIn/Ipsos.

A well-developed funnel is a blueprint for how to move prospects through every stage of the buying process so that they become clients. Effective funnels hinge on you knowing:

  • Your targeted clients
  • Their pain points
  • The solutions they’re looking for
  • How you can solve their problems

Emerging technology welcomed but not fully understood

B2B marketing leaders welcome generative artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies. But they’re not sure how to take full advantage of it. The majority are using it to create content and save time, so they can focus on higher-value work. Those uses aren’t expected to change much in the next year, according to the B2B Marketing Benchmark.

The research shows that B2B leaders are overlooking opportunities to build creative campaigns and gain competitive advantage with AI. That could change soon. Gartner predicts that by 2025, organizations that use AI in their marketing will shift 75% of their operational activities from production to more strategic activities.

Meanwhile, the consulting firm pointed out the need for content verification. An increasing volume of fake user- and AI-generated content will require constant monitoring. Accountability for ethical AI in marketing will become a significant concern for CMOs by 2025, Gartner found.

Consumers have concerns about AI, too, LinkedIn/Ipsos reported. A majority of Americans are worried about:

  • Privacy concerns (72%)
  • Being able to reach a human (72%)
  • An inability to discern AI-generated content from content humans wrote (71%)
  • Misinformation being spread online (70%)
  • Discrimination or bias from AI tools (57%)

Final takeaways

Competition among B2B brands is getting more intense than ever. Purchase journeys and decision times are increasing, along with B2B marketing budgets. To succeed, brands must have a modern-growth mindset and evolve with shifting buyer expectations. That means:

  • Meeting buyers where they are
  • Understanding them
  • Providing value
  • Solving their problems

As more businesses compete for clients, brand awareness must also be a priority. Differentiation (not imitation) is key. Finally, B2B businesses that embrace generative AI and other advanced technologies will lead and exceed for the long term.