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B2B marketers expect bigger 2014 budgets

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B2B marketers expect bigger 2014 budgets

B2B firms exhibiting more optimism about the coming year.

A report issued by Forrester and the Business Marketing Assocaition, business-to-business (B2B) firms expect marketing budgets to rise on average in 2014, with the majority of B2B firms entering the new year with a positive outlook after meeting or exceeding revenue goals last year.

According to the report, marketing executives expect budgets to increase by 6% on average, with a total of 32% of surveyed marketers expecting some budget increase this year. But despite this cautious optimism, many marketers still face ongoing pressure to justify their budgets: More than half of those surveyed said they feel challenged to connect marketing goals to business objectives in ways that defend budget requests, or find it difficult to attribute marketing activity directly to revenue results as another means to justify budgets.

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"B2B budgets will continue to fragment moving into 2014 as new priorities gain importance."

"B2B budgets will continue to fragment moving into 2014 as new priorities gain importance," said Business Marketing Association Chairwoman Kathy Button Bell. "So while increased spending expectations equal good news for B2B marketers, many B2B CMOs will struggle to make dollars stretch while protecting program allocations. Specifically, we'll see CMOs trading off traditional ad dollars in favor of digital, investing in content marketing, and carrying on the love/hate relationship with trade shows and conferences."

Technology And Innovation Spend Will Strain Budgets Further

According to the study, technology, data analytics, and innovation will top the list of priorities CMOs must figure out how to fund in 2014 — focus areas that were barely on their radar a few years ago. Specifically, B2B CMOs will:

Place bigger bets on marketing technology. Sixty-one percent of surveyed marketing execs expect the ratio of technology spend to marketing program spend to increase and investment to be more than the current 3% earmarked for IT support and development.

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