One of the steepest challenges facing any business is mapping out a marketing budget. In today’s crowded marketplace, drilling down on what channels to focus on, what metrics to aim for, and which technology tools to use to support the business’s growth creates a monumental yet pivotal set of decisions. These challenges are especially pronounced for small businesses in the B2B space.
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Marketing services in small businesses
A recent CMO Spend Survey shows that marketing technology spending made up 26.6% of total marketing budgets in 2021, in comparison to 12% in 2016. However, it also found that while 68% of startups and small businesses purchase marketing technology tools, few have a strategy for measuring ROI from their investment.
On a positive note, it was found that more than 75% of marketers report their marketing technology was positively impacting the bottom line, and 91% of those surveyed said they are “very confident” their investments were bringing in value.
Why small businesses are affected more deeply than large corporations
Small businesses felt the pain of the global shutdown and aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many are still bouncing back after a couple of challenging years, especially with the legitimate recruitment issue created by the Great Resignation.
Critical areas of the small business can be impacted significantly by lack of strategy, barriers to entry, labor and talent shortages, as well as riding costs. Whether trying to recoup in the post-pandemic world, identify ways to compete in a hyper-changing digital landscape, or scale the business, the net effect is felt within the small business immediately.
Tips for creating a B2B marketing budget
Assess what is working
A common mistake many businesses make when setting up their B2B marketing budget is to overlook the current situation. Your assessment of what you’ve been doing is foundational to your success.
Perform an audit to assess things like:
- What’s been working and what hasn’t;
- What the acquisition costs are;
- Which audiences are your best opportunities and which aren’t;
- Which tools provide the deepest insights; and
- What processes support your growth and which are unsustainable.
Once an audit has been completed of what is working and what isn’t, your B2B marketing budget will begin to look at growth opportunities. Striking the balance between always looking at the newest, shiniest marketing tool or technique and widening the net to garner big results is key here.
Some small businesses look at an 80:20 ratio, where 80% of the budget is focused on more predictable campaigns and channels, while 20% is centered around more unknown territories that could prove successful or possibly not.
Pivot when changes are needed
The days of the set-it-and-forget-it B2B marketing budget are gone, it seems. It’s important to continuously look at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as things that change both internally and externally. All of this analysis will help you stay aware of your business and allow you to pivot when the time is needed.
Identify metrics, KPIs, and ROIs
It is important to set up measurements in advance to ensure you know how your marketing initiatives are performing. You’ll want to identify the correct KPIs and cross-reference them to your spend in a way that is easy to get at and understand and with the ability to adjust according to your insights.
Choose what to outsource and what to keep in-house
When setting out to create your small business’s B2B budget, you’ll want to consider what you will keep in-house versus what you will outsource.
This will vary based on a variety of factors, including your talent’s skill set and/or your need for expertise; technology requirements; budget; and commitment to the channel, campaign, or initiative.
In some cases, keeping the task in-house can allow for more control, flexibility, and cost controls. In other cases, outsourcing can bring an expert to your processes that you might not be able to afford to hire, or it may allow you to dabble in some area of marketing for a short-term period.
Developing your marketing budget
Creating a B2B marketing budget for a small business is no small undertaking. From organic traffic driven by SEO campaigns to social media influencer initiatives and much in between, there is a vast ocean of consideration when developing your marketing budget.
With a focus on insights and metrics as they compare to your goals, projections for the future, and budget, you’ll be able to create a plan that moves the needle for your business.