B2B Marketing Budgets for 2016

Hacking AdWords Series: “Search” vs “Display” Network

Round up a mix of UK B2B marketing spend reports for 2015 and their predictions for 2016 and we have around a 75% – 25% spend split, digital to traditional, with a range of 6% – 10% as the anticipated increase in budgets from 2015 – 2016.

Great news, so what is the practical day to day approach we should take to maximise digital opportunities in 2016? The research suggests nothing revolutionary or complicated, simply prepping hard to supply up-front achievable KPIs. It also suggests agreeing in advance what success looks like for your client from the results of your work, and working with your client to supply it.


More Bang For The Buck
Econsultancy gave the following key findings in their 2015 marketing spend report.

Digital marketing budgets are set to reach an all-time high
Investment in digital marketing technology surges back
Marketers look beyond paid media, but ROI measurement issues hold them back
Acquisition marketing continues to be front of mind

So in broad terms I read that as: faith in digital continues to increase and there is a growing awareness that technology investment is required to drive it. However, it is also apparent that (quite rightly) people are looking to get the best ‘bang for their buck.’ 

Acquisition marketing highlighted in this context refers to good old fashioned spending to win newclients, (rather than the more rarified strata of output for those investing in programmatic marketing).

So supplying new clients is key for 2016 and the market expects digital to be leading the charge.

Measuring Digital
Interestingly, Forrester research claims that investment in exhibitions and events is still holding up at a reasonable level of 14% of budget. But with a background of rising costs and lower attendance, confidence is waning and so digital continues to gain spend percentage.

But what ‘in person’ events and conferences have always been able to do, is to provide a simple instant feedback. Now, granted a lot of it has been unscientific, (counting collected business cards and arranging a phone call/email catch up), but it’s still there, and it’s measureable against spend.


How digital will grab more of the annual budget, is by not only providing a tangible reason for the investment, but by supplying an up-front set of KPIs detailing what the spend will achieve, in orders gained, money brought in, or whatever outcome is apposite to success. As Econsultancy found, ROI issues are holding back investment, cure those and the spend will increase. 

My approach to creating a path to an upfront ROI is always to start with desired outcomes, then create the ideal package to support those aims. There’s a lot of confusion around setting KPIs and ‘but what if it doesn’t work?’ is still a major concern to those placing their neck on the line. Try putting yourself in your client’s position, everyone now insists on knowing what they will get for their money. The days of investing in anything as a nice to have are long gone and if good old exhibitions are in some basic way, ‘measureable’, digital can be and should be measurable, but also predictive, accurate and answerable.

Inbound As An Example
Looking at Inbound Marketing as an example, putting good, realistic metrics around any inbound project is by necessity a bespoke and hands on partnership process. There are many standard parameters you need to start building the KPI framework. But even in industry verticals, the requirement for an individual set of commercial process considerations will be there for each client, all adding into the calculations, but giving further insight into outcomes.

However, once you have the elemental framework of needs and the extra considerations apposite to that client/campaign all are put into the mix, there is a clarity of outcome that suddenly begins to look very much like a list of real KPIs. Then dig deeper, split the current performance, channel by channel, spot the strengths and weaknesses and connect those metrics to the original framework. You can then plan the investment accordingly.

There are many other considerations, but hopefully for the client at this stage this is starting to give a sense of what is possible. Of course for the ‘real deal’, my contact details are available for anyone wishing to get the best return on their investment.

But in general as an industry, we do need to be more results driven and be confident of what our services can achieve. After all, people are willing to further invest in digital, they just need a more structured, measured approach at the research phase. The exact sort of approach that underpins our Advanced Growth Framework at Catalyst.

If you’d like to find out more about our Advanced Growth Framework and how our clients experienced an average turnover increase of 20.1% last year, simply book an appointment with me today by clicking the button below.