B to B Marketing Guide for 2020

Your B to B Marketing Guide for 2020

This post is for Business to Business marketing professionals to use as a guide for their 2020 B2B marketing planning. We hope that you find it useful today and throughout 2020. Below is our general thinking for this guide:

  • You’re the head of marketing and in the process of planning for 2020
  • It’s important to know what your marketing peers are thinking and doing
  • A high level assessment of reports and research will save you time
  • You’d like to come back to this guide throughout the year as reference source and for updates

We hope you get value from this post. Pick our brain! Book some time with our managing partner.

The B to B Marketing Research 

The reports include: The Annual CMO Spend Survey 2019-2020 by Gartner and Duke Fuqua’s The CMO Survey (23rd edition). The next report we’re pouring through is from the Content Marketing Institute.

Research Reports

This section lets you skim and learn more about the research we’re citing to assess how relevant it is to your company and situation. And, whether you want to read and dig into yourself! The links to the reports are below the table. [Click on the table below to enlarge]

Business to Business Marketing Research 2020

Reference Reports
Fuqua School of Business at Duke University (2019, August). The CMO Survey. Deloitte, American Marketing Association.
Gartner (2019). The Annual CMO Spend Survey 2019-2020.

Key Intelligence

Takeaways

  • Many CMOs and CEOs are optimistic about the economy and their business prospects for the next twenty four months. As many as 56% of CEOs reported they expected to increase investment in marketing in 2019. Additionally, CMO optimism climbed slightly in August 2019 after hitting its lowest point in the last seven years in February, but not everyone feels this way. Should the economy tank, 37% of CMOs expect to spend more on digital and social media
  • Spending on marketing for 2020 will be between 8.5% and 10% of revenue, with one report identifying B2B firms in the 10% range
  • Services and solutions from agencies, like Mi6, are important to CMOs for supporting technical projects; helping build internal marketing capabilities, to extend their bench, and for strategic expertise. B2B companies spend 25% of their budget on agencies for consulting, marketing services and to build internal competencies
  • Data is driving marketing decisions for over 75% of CMOs, yet only 39% are using marketing analytics to help make those decisions. Importantly, building in-house capabilities and managing their marketing technology stack continues to be a problem
  • Marketing technology strategy, adoption and use is a top weakness that hinders customer acquisition and loyalty. Consequently, this could be why martech is a much more volatile investment area than agency investments
  • Both competitive insights and analytics are the most important capabilities supporting the delivery of marketing strategies over the next 18 months

Select Data Sets

Key data sets are visualized below with insights and commentary provided by Chris Herbert our founder and managing partner.

Budget Allocation

This section includes information and insights on business to business marketing spending priorities and trends. We think they’re important, interesting and worthy of your attention.

The graph above is based on data from Gartner’s 2019 CMO Annual Spend survey. It shows the budget breakdown for agencies, marketing technologies, media and labour. It’s important to note that the Gartner surveyed companies generating over $500M in revenue annually.

As a CMO at a company generating $500M in revenue you’d likely have a marketing budget of $40M. Your spread would be as follows: Agencies $8.8M; Martech $11.6M; Media $11.6M, and Labour $10M. That’s a lot of cabbage!

Our thinking: We’re not sure where events fit into these buckets which can eat up to 40% of your B to B marketing budget.


Market Penetration First Priority

B2B companies focus over 50% of their time, money and resources on penetrating existing markets. Since this is likely your plan, ask yourself what success would look like in 2020 and how you’ll measure it.

Both increasing the number of customers or the total sales per account are two metrics you can measure. We assume markets are defined by target industry and not geography.

Our thinking: Growth should include developing new skills and competencies. Indeed, generating more revenue and increasing market share is important but having a competent team will make that happen.


Domestic Markets Get Most of the Budget

This data set is from Duke’s CMO Survey of marketing executives in the United States. Of the 341 firms participating in this study, 219 were B2B products and services companies. That’s a decent sample!

The two charts above tell us that most B2B companies will focus on penetrating customer markets in the United States. If they have a presence in other countries how’s that going to work? Will there be any money left? 

Our thinking: A $25M U.S. company likely has a marketing budget of $2.5M. With 87% of it allocated for the domestic market a Canadian subsidiary would have $325K in marketing funds.


B2B Go to Market

Key activities implemented by business to business marketing professionals in 2020.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that B2B marketing leaders rely on indirect promotion. Channel partners, have and always will be an important part of a go to market program. 

What’s striking is the dip in 2017 and 2018! Why the change?

Our thinking: A channel partner program should be part of your plan for 2020 but it needs to be different from the past. You need to look beyond transactional partners (resellers, affiliates, agents, distributors, etc.), and re-define what channel means.

RELATED: The Value Exchange Network


Competency Development

This section focuses on what B to B marketing teams and professionals are doing to develop their expertise and how.

B2B companies are committing more to “knowledge investment” and our first question is what does this mean? And, what’s the difference between knowledge and capability? We like to use the term competency.


B2B Marketing Training Spend Increasing

The chart above from the Duke survey shows budgets on marketing training and development increasing year over year.

Let’s do an economic experiment with a B2B company generating $10M in revenue. This likely means your marketing budget is between $850K and $1M which means you have between $42,500 and $50,000 for training your team. How will you spend it?

Our Thinking: a professional marketer needs to be competent or skilled. That means you need to know what to do, how to do it and you need to be able to do it well. If you are working with a marketing consultant or agency ask them how they will help you and your team become more competent as marketers. Can they include knowledge transfer and coaching in their engagement with you. Maybe they should.


Most Important B to B Marketing Capabilities

Above are the top “capabilities” CMOs consider critical to supporting the execution of a marketing strategy. We think that capability is a wishy, washy word. That’s because one may be capable of configuring a LinkedIn advertising campaign but how good are they at doing that? 

Our Thinking: Competency is where it’s at. Being competent brings together knowledge and experience which are the ingredients for expertise. You may be wondering if you or your team members need to be fully competent in content creation and management.

Feel free to book some time with our managing partner if you’d like to learn how we work with B2B companies like yours.

Conclusion and Thank You

Thank you for investing your time in reading this post! And to the researchers and authors of the reports we’re citing.