Three Ways to Maximize Your 2024 Marketing Budget

Whether or not 2024 brings a recession, marketers are looking at ways to make every dollar count. Three areas to watch are technology, tactics, and talent. As you gear up for end-of-year budgeting, we look at how these three trends impact B2B marketing spending to help you plan for 2024.

Tech utilization is down 16% from last year.

What’s happening: Gartner reported that organizations are spending just over ¼ of their marketing budget on technology – but utilization of the martech stack’s capabilities dropped (for the second year in a row) to just 33%. Martech complexity, issues with customer data, inflexible governance, and talent scarcity are all barriers to tech adoption and utilization. Y

Why it’s significant: Year-over-year declines in utilization have shined a spotlight on tech spending, and the pressure is on CMOs to prove ROI and cut back on perceived wasteful spending.

How to respond:  At the end of the day, technology is a means to an end. Your martech stack is only as strong as your martech strategy.

Double down on your customer engagement strategy first — where will you invest to hit key lead acquisition goals and KPIs? — and then decide how the martech stack should support your engagement strategy. This approach will help you identify places to optimize underutilized technology, eliminate unnecessary elements, and keep spending aligned with strategy.

U.S. digital ad spending growth has slowed

What’s happening:  Overall, ad spending growth has been declining for several years. U.S. digital ad spending is in line for its lowest growth since the Great Recession — down to 7.8% in 2023. Yet analysts remain optimistic, with some estimating a steady upward trend in U.S. ad spend between now and 2030.

Why it’s significant: With a budget squeeze imminent or already in place, brands are looking strategically at where and how to focus their ad spend.

How to respond: In the current climate, where CMO spending is under heavy scrutiny in many organizations, marketers are cutting back on brand advertising — typically a slower burn — and leaning toward performance advertising as a more profitable short-term investment. Whether your budget is static, growing, or shrinking, consider focusing on channels and content that will yield optimal ROI.

Finding skilled marketing talent is getting more complex.

What’s happening: A recent Robert Half study revealed that 84% of hiring managers find it “challenging” to find skilled marketing talent. This talent scarcity is driving higher demand for contract workers. 63% of marketing and creative managers said they planned to hire more contract professionals in the first half of 2023 (a 19% jump from the second half of 2022).

Why it’s significant: As demand for contract workers increases, so will cost.

How to respond: The Robert Half report identifies marketing, digital marketing, and advertising as top areas for contract work. Think about investing in ways to upskill your existing talent in these key competency areas. To cover any possible talent gaps, consider earmarking a portion of your 2024 budget for outsourcing and contract help.

Whether 2024 brings a recession or not, the shifting landscape of CMO spending is a reality. Reevaluating how your tech stack, advertising tactics, and talent investments align with strategy is critical to weathering potential downturns, demonstrably boosting ROI, and making the most of your marketing budget in 2024.

Have questions about maximizing your investments in any or all the above? Contact one of our archers.

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