Planning your 2024 marketing budget? Here’s what you need to know (Part 1)

Discover how to smartly allocate your resources across prime investment sectors like SEO, PPC, and content creation, and learn why ongoing employee training can be your secret weapon in the evolving digital landscape. Dive into our insights and gear up for a successful year ahead.

As the new year approaches, you as a CMO of a small/medium business must come up with a marketing budget for the upcoming year—one that not only builds on the successes and learnings of the previous year but also aligns with your future goals and objectives. 

In this blog, we discuss how to craft a comprehensive budget that ensures that your marketing strategy is adequately funded and poised for success in 2024.

Key considerations for crafting a marketing budget

Your budget needs to mirror your vision, adapt to the market, and harness past lessons to drive success.

1. Alignment with business goals: Every marketing penny spent must align with a business goal. Whether it's customer acquisition, market expansion, or brand awareness, your budget should directly support these aims.

2. Understanding trends: It’s essential to stay current with marketing trends. Trends dictate consumer behavior and open new channels for engagement. Budget for the resources needed to keep your strategy ahead of the curve.

3. Competitor analysis: Analyzing what your competitors are doing helps you spot opportunities and threats. Allocate funds for tools and resources that help you keep a constant watch on your competition.

4. Historical data insights: Your past marketing efforts are a goldmine of information. Allocate time and resources to dissect what worked and what didn't. This historical data will inform smarter budgeting decisions.

5. Employee training: As marketing tools evolve, so should your team's skills. Dedicate part of your budget to training, ensuring your staff can leverage the latest marketing technologies and strategies. Consider setting aside funds for training your team in AI. They need to understand how to integrate AI into their daily work and use AI tools to their full potential. This investment ensures your team remains agile and ready to adapt to new AI developments.

6. Outsourced marketing: With 58% of CMOs acknowledging skill gaps in their internal teams, especially in crucial areas like data analytics, customer insights, and marketing technology, there's an increasing trend toward partnering with specialized external agencies to fill these gaps and drive strategy forward.1 It’s important to be aware of areas your team is lacking in and close those gaps by partnering with experts who specialize in them. 

Content Marketing Strategy: Planning your 2024 marketing budget? Here’s what you need to know (Part 1)

Credit: Stevens on financial marketing2

Upcoming trends in AI and Marketing to watch out for in 2024

As we approach 2024, here's what to look out for:

1. Marketing Spend and Share of Voice

In lean economic times, maintaining or increasing marketing spend can be a strategic advantage.3 The correlation between market share and share of voice suggests that brands with a higher share of voice relative to their market share tend to see growth. In contrast, those that reduce promotional spending risk losing market share. Thus, even maintaining your current marketing budget can significantly boost your share of voice if competitors are cutting back.

2. Increased allocation for content marketing 

A staggering 48% of B2B marketers allocate less than 10% of their total marketing budget to content marketing. However, there's a shift on the horizon, with 45% expecting an increase in their content marketing budget for 2024.4 This indicates a growing recognition of content marketing’s role in the broader marketing strategy.

3. Artificial Intelligence's Role in Content Marketing

While AI continues to be a hot topic in content marketing, its practical applications are still being explored. Currently, B2B marketers use generative AI predominantly for brainstorming content topics and researching headlines and keywords. As proficiency in AI grows, especially among tech-savvy digital marketers, its value for businesses is expected to increase.

4. Automation in Marketing Technology

Efficiency is key, and automation in marketing and sales, particularly through AI, is improving workflows and outcomes. Forward-thinking agencies and brands are leveraging these tools to streamline processes, enhance customer targeting, and personalize content at scale.

Staying abreast of these trends is not just beneficial but essential for content marketers looking to remain competitive and effective in 2024. As AI and marketing technologies evolve, so must our strategies and tools if we are to capture the attention of our target audiences and convert them into loyal customers.

Content Marketing Strategy: Planning your 2024 marketing budget? Here’s what you need to know (Part 1)

Budgeting for small/medium B2B Companies: Navigating constraints with strategy

Small and medium-sized B2B companies face unique constraints and a relentless pressure to deliver results and ROI. While larger enterprises might have the luxury of expansive budgets, smaller entities must approach budgeting with precision and caution.

The reality for many B2B companies is a tight financial leash. There's a delicate balance between investing enough to generate returns and overspending on unproven methods. This balancing act means every penny must be justified, every campaign must be accountable, and the margin for error is slim.

How should you budget?

Remember the rule of thumb for Marketing spend: you must allocate between 2 and 5% of revenue to marketing.5 This benchmark offers a starting point, but the exact percentage can vary based on factors like business goals, industry standards, and growth stages.

Set your objectives:

Set both qualitative and quantifiable objectives, and take special events such as product launches, promotions into consideration. The content distribution plan must be meticulously crafted, taking into account the type and frequency of content that resonates best with the target audience.

Define Social Media Mix:

Identifying the right social media mix is vital. It’s not about being present on every platform but about selecting channels that offer the highest engagement with your target personas. This targeted approach helps in optimizing the budget for maximum impact.

Content Distribution: Quality Over Quantity

The frequency of content is important, but not at the cost of quality. A well-thought-out content distribution plan ensures that each piece of content serves a specific purpose in the buyer's journey, whether it's awareness, consideration, or decision-making.

A Focus on ROI-Driven Activities:

Ultimately, the budget must focus on ROI-driven activities. This focus shifts the narrative from 'how much are we spending?' to 'how much are we earning back?'. For B2B companies, especially those with limited resources, this ROI-centric approach is not just advisable, it's essential.

Outsourcing as a Cost-Effective Solution

Many B2B companies find that outsourcing marketing efforts can be more cost-effective in the long run. This approach taps into the expertise of seasoned professionals who can navigate the complex digital landscape efficiently, often yielding better results than in-house attempts to keep up with the ever-evolving marketing trends.

Cost-Effective AI Solutions
Small, yet powerful AI tools can take over repetitive, time-consuming tasks. This automation means your team can focus on strategy and creativity, ultimately saving time and reducing costs. AI doesn't have to mean big data and big dollars. Today's solutions are scalable, accessible, and, most importantly, budget-friendly.

Staggered Investments
For small and medium B2B companies, the smart move is to embrace staggered investments. This approach allows for the adoption of scalable solutions that grow with your business. It's about starting small, proving value, and then increasing investment incrementally.

This phased approach not only keeps your budget in check but also aligns spending with growth and success.

Budgeting as an Ongoing Process:

Lastly, budgeting is not a one-time activity but an ongoing process. It requires regular reviews and adjustments to ensure that spending aligns with results. By keeping a close eye on the budget and being willing to pivot strategies based on performance data, B2B companies can navigate through financial constraints and still achieve their marketing goals.

Conclusion

As we wrap up this guide to planning your 2024 marketing budget, remember that the key to success lies in strategic planning and the smart integration of emerging trends and technologies. Your budget is the blueprint of your marketing aspirations. It's about investing in the right places—aligning with business goals, embracing AI and marketing automation, and navigating the unique challenges faced by small and medium B2B companies with agility and foresight.

Are you allocating resources to cultivate thought leadership? How are you harnessing AI to enhance content creation and distribution? These questions are crucial for your marketing strategy's success in the coming year.

We've discussed the importance of a nuanced approach, one that weighs constraints against the imperative of ROI. Now, it's over to you. How will you leverage this knowledge to craft a budget that propels your company forward?

Share your thoughts or questions with us at contact@aibiliti.co and let's discuss the future of B2B marketing together.

Sources: 

1: https://www.launchteaminc.com/blog/marketing-budget-planning-for-2024

2:https://stevensonfinancialmarketing.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/marketing-funnies-not-the-marketing-budget/

3:https://www.hubspot.com/state-of-marketing

4:https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/2024-content-marketing-trends-media-relations-inc--mpsrc/?trk=article-ssr-frontend-pulse_more-articles_related-content-card

5: https://www.bdc.ca/en/articles-tools/marketing-sales-export/marketing/what-average-marketing-budget-for-small-business#:~:text=A%20common%20rule%20of%20thumb,to%20reach%20various%20customer%20segments

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