2009 Economic Impact on B2B Budgets and Practices

MarketingProfs hosted Digital Marketing World Spring 2009 virtually. The free conference attracted over 2000 attendees, and mesmerized most with a video speech by David Plouffe, Barak Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign manager, who spoke extemporaneously about how the campaign team developed a world-class community of followers who blew away previous fund raising records (over $580M in 2 years with the majority from individual donors.) Using social media like Facebook, Twitter, etc., the campaign connected a dispersed group of people and generated brand loyalty with unparalleled success.

I know all of this because I followed Mr. Plouffe on the agenda and enjoyed quite a bit of carryover from his incredibly popular session. (Thank you David!) I would also like to think that B2B marketers are quite interested in the impact of the current recession on marketing budgets and mix. Here are a few highlights from the research:

1) Traditional tactics still command the lion’s share of the budget.

Trade shows, direct mail, inside sales, TV and print hold a tight grip on the five top spots in our list of most expensive B2B marketing tactics. Coming in sixth, the company Web site is the only digital tactic to scrape together a double-digit percentage of marketing budgets

2) Social media makes a few budgetary inroads.

Virtual trade shows, community sites, rich media (video, podcasts, etc.), blogs, and other Web 2.0 tools like RSS subscriptions, mashups, and widgets got a bigger portion of markeitng budget leftovers this year: each of these emerging tactics captured between 3 and 5% of the marketing budget this year versus the measly 1 to 2% devoted last year.

3) Recessionary concerns slammed the brakes on spending plans.

While 3/4 of respondents reported program budgets holding steady or enjoying reasonable increases in 2008, spending came to a skidding stop in 2009 with only 58% of marketers reporting that their budgets would grow or stay the same, a sizable drop. The most striking figure is that 42% expect overall budgets to getslammed by 23% on average. (See Figure)

Marketing Spending Plans Dropped in 2009 v 2008

Marketing Spending Plans Dropped in 2009 v 2008












This data — and a lot more — is part of a joint study with MarketingProfs, Forrester surveyed 317 B2B marketing professionals in firms with annual revenues ranging from less than $20 million to more than $5 billion and who met our minimum criteria for marketing spend and mix.

Forrester will publish the results of this research shortly in two documents that I will blog about in the coming weeks.

I also plan to give another rendition of the Digital Marketing World presentation for Forrester audiences in May. Check the blog for date and time.

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