2010 Outlook survey shows marketing budgets to grow

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While the economy had a devastating effect on marketing this year—with nearly 60% of b-to-b marketers slashing their budgets—next year looks much brighter, according to BtoB's “2010 Outlook: Marketing Priorities and Plans” report.

The report, based on an online survey of 376 b-to-b marketers, found that nearly 40% plan to increase spending next year. Almost half plan to keep budgets flat, while only slightly more than 13% plan to cut them next year.

The biggest increases will be in online, as marketers shift more of their dollars to the lower-cost, more measurable medium. Direct marketing and events spending will also rise.

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Online areas that will see the largest increases include Web site development, e-mail marketing, search, social media, online video and webcasts.

As marketers learned from marketing in a recession, nothing beats understanding the customer and marketing to prospects with a laser focus.

“It is all about understanding the audience and understanding how they want to receive their information, then developing marketing programs that are targeted exclusively to their needs,” said Bob Meldrum, VP-marketing at TW Telecom.

Customer acquisition was cited as the top marketing goal for next year, and marketers will use a wide array of programs to attract them. Many plan to get back to basics, using innovative direct mail pieces to cut through the clutter and conducting customer events for face-to-face interaction.

They will also get smarter about measuring ROI and implementing processes to make marketing more efficient.

“We don't want to waste any money going after social media or advertising opportunities that don't make sense,” said Mark Wilson, VP-corporate marketing at Sybase. “We have developed very measurable and productive expense management [processes]. In 2009, we made it a science; and we will continue it next year.”

For complete survey results, as well as lessons learned from marketing in a recession, see BtoB's Outlook 2010 Special Report.

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