In Forrester’s Marketing Survey, 2024, nearly 900 global B2B marketing executives and operations leaders indicated they expected an overall marketing budget increase. Breaking that down further, 67% expected their technology budget to increase, 62% anticipated a larger programs budget, and even 59% projected to spend more on personnel. Yet our client interactions reveal these increases are often coupled with equally high (or higher) expectations to increase marketing’s impact on revenue and growth.

Persistent Challenges Block Progress

As if increasing impact alone wasn’t a challenge, poor data quality, poor data accessibility, and a lack of clarity and/or alignment pertaining to business goals and objectives stand in the way of progress. In fact, these challenges haven’t changed much from last year’s survey. This means they’re persistent and will take effort to solve. Adding fuel to the fire, from an external perspective, changing economic conditions and brand perception that doesn’t reflect their organization’s desired corporate identity or business strategy were also cited as key challenges. How should B2B marketing leaders overcome these continuing difficulties?

  • Don’t underinvest in data quality and accessibility. It can be tempting to deprioritize data-related initiatives when dealing with near-term pressure to increase results, but savvy marketing leaders know a robust and accurate data strategy is key to effective execution — both for increasing impact and improving efficiency.
  • Deliberately connect marketing strategy to business strategy. Marketing strategy begins with business strategy. B2B marketing leaders must show how business strategy connects transparently and directly to marketing strategy so that marketers understand how their work supports these objectives and, more importantly, how to prioritize time and resources.

Balancing Efficiency And Innovation Is The Path To Success

Marketing decision-makers report that increasing focus on achieving B2B revenue and growth via the partner ecosystem/channel and addressing changing buyer behaviors via an integrated campaign strategy are two top priorities. Both priorities incorporate opportunities for improved efficiency — scaling through partners and driving synergy across campaign programs — and innovation — expanding partner ecosystems and addressing evolving buyer expectations. But innovation is inherently less efficient to start, so maintaining a balanced approach is key.

Growth Through New Markets Leads The Way

When it comes to growth strategies, our survey respondents reported that new markets remained as their primary growth strategy from 2023 to 2024. Growth through productivity, underscoring again the need for improved efficiency, followed. New markets require a significant enablement commitment to educate on new buyer needs and how your offerings address them. They also require a commitment to brand reputation programs that establish awareness and accurate perception of company capabilities. When it comes to productivity, it’s important to not only seek efficiency opportunities but to avoid the pressure to take on more. Experienced marketers know that spreading resources too broadly can blunt their impact.

Forrester clients can read more in the report B2B Marketing Must Balance Innovation And Efficiency In The Face Of Persistent Challenges, and schedule an inquiry or guidance session with me to discuss the findings in greater depth.