"Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There's no better rule." That was the advice Mr. Jaggers gave to Pip in the Charles Dickens classic Great Expectations. The same advice goes to B2B marketing leaders, because this is how your CEO, CFO, and other executive team peers are looking at your marketing plans.

Forrester's recent Q4 2010 North American And European B2B Marketing Organizations And Investments Online Survey shows that marketing budgets have grown by 6.7% in 2011. Seventy-eight percent of companies in our survey have increased their marketing budgets this year, and almost one-third have increased by more than 10%. Companies on average are spending almost 3% of revenue on marketing.

But the higher budgets come with "great expectations." CMOs need to spend more time allocating, managing, adjusting, and defending their budgets than ever before. When we look at how CMOs are allocating their budgets, we see that:

  • They are shifting some investment from lead origination to lead nurturing to further develop leads generated from previous efforts.
  • Although product marketing and product management remain the highest areas of investment, marketers plan to shift budget from those areas to community and interactive marketing to focus their messages on solving their customers' problems.

Budgeting is no longer a once-a-year event; it is an ongoing activity for CMOs who can use this benchmark data to assess where they stand throughout the year, make course corrections to their allocations to keep the flywheel spinning, and put together a smarter budget for 2012.

See the report "Bigger B2B Marketing Budgets Come With Great Expectations."