With rising interest rates, budget cuts, layoffs and other economic headwinds, B2B marketers are facing an increasingly difficult market. To understand how marketing budgets, priorities, and sentiments have changed in the past six months, we recently released new research on "The 2023 State of B2B Marketing Budgets."
We found that nearly 50% of B2B marketers cite the difficulty of using data to inform decisions and measure performance as the biggest challenge, suggesting an increasing need for marketers to “defend the spend” to finance departments and C-level executives. As a result, nearly 90% of marketers surveyed report that data compliance and accuracy is a priority at their company.
But we wondered, do these results reflect real-life marketers' experiences? We asked our B2B marketer friends for their perspectives. Read on to hear what they had to say.
Challenge #1: Using Data to Inform Decisions & Measure Performance
In the 2023 State of B2B Marketing Budgets survey, marketers report their biggest challenge was the difficulty of using data to inform decisions and measure performance.
Zach Presnall, Director Digital Marketing, e.Republic agreed with this sentiment saying that it is "important to justify spend with analytics and showcase ROI to secure budget."
Deb Wolf, CMO, Lookout shared, "It's a never-ending challenge trying to piece all the data together and form a clear, compelling and interesting story about what the marketing investment has provided."
Challenge #2: Doing More with Less
The next biggest challenges the survey found include headcount cuts (40%), increasing growth targets (39%), and budget cuts (38%). Overwhelmingly, real-life marketers cited the impossible task of hitting growing targets with fewer resources.
Tejal Rastogi, Marketing Manager, Acumatica said, "Both budget cuts and headcount cuts have affected our marketing team. We are unable to invest in new tools and workload has also increased because targets are the same or more."
Matthew Agronin, CMO, Ubiquity echoed that sentiment saying, "Our greatest obstacles stem from budgetary restrictions, personnel downsizing, and the prevalent notion that our operations can be effectively managed by less experienced team members while achieving the same marketing results."
Adapting to Today’s World
The survey found that 57% of B2B marketers are optimizing for growth in 2023 by leveraging customer marketing (upsell/cross-sell); 42% are building team skills and adding new competencies; and 36% are investing in existing verticals or markets.
How are real-life marketers adapting in today's challenging environment?
Ken Yan, Sr. Marketing Manager, Rubrik said, "We need to focus on data-driven decision making to inform our marketing strategies and measure performance. We also need to be agile which allow us to pivot quickly and adjust our strategies based on feedback or market trends."
Rachel Prawdzik, Customer Growth Strategist, Service Express said that they are taking a more targeted, precise approach. Service Express is "Increasing our customer marketing outreach, collaborating with our SDR and sales team, more ABM initiatives, and focusing on the right accounts at the right time instead of emailing everyone in our database."
Jason Thompson, Vice President, Global Marketing & Sales Enablement, Mendix is investing in his team, and said he’s, "Building team skills and looking for productivity and efficiency opportunities."
The Importance of Data Compliance and Accuracy
The survey also found that 90% of marketers report that data compliance and accuracy is a priority at their company.
Nick Vener, Marketing Manager, Informa too said that data compliance and accuracy are "important for risk mitigation - checking permissions on form captures; verifying with the compliance team before sharing data with sponsors and partners."
Anita Matalia, COO, DZone said, "With privacy front and center in our key markets this is a top priority for us. We continue to discuss GDPR and CCPA to ensure we are not just compliant for the sake of marketing ourselves but also have the technology in place and the processes documented."
Whether it’s "doing more with less" or "defending the spend," today’s B2B marketers face challenge after challenge. Yet despite these obstacles, they’re adaptable and resilient. They’re finding ways to ensure accurate and connected data; they’re prioritizing ways to better understand their buyer and make data-driven decisions; and they’re doubling down on investing in their teams.
To dive deeper into the data, download the full B2B report on "The 2023 State of B2B Marketing Budgets."