A Detailed Look At B2B Business Marketing Strategy And Spend

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life ring with words 'most business leaders feel out of their depth' on it

At one time or another, most business leaders feel out of their depth. 

And it’s no wonder, given the sheer number of choices available to them and with so many questions requiring answers.

Should you increase your marketing capacity by expanding your in-house team? Is your marketing spend right? The list goes on…

If there were a single answer to each of these questions, achieving business success would be a walk in the park. 

Most answers you’ll find lurking in blog posts across the internet are vague, speculative, and generic. That is, after all, why business and marketing consultancies exist—to provide tailored advice. 

But we wanted to make answers that were neither vague nor speculative readily available to business leaders, without them having to book a consultation. In this ambition, we faced the same challenge as other marketing advice providers; how do we give businesses a concrete idea of what they should be doing without first getting to know them? 

We set out to find a solution. 

What Marketing Campaigns Are Other B2B Businesses Running?

b2b marketing survey results on marketing spend and strategy

It may or may not surprise you to learn that most B2B businesses are investing in social media marketing, at least to some extent. In our experience, few businesses choose to invest in all areas of marketing unless they have a serious budget to work with. 

More often than not, businesses choose between two and five areas of marketing to prioritise. This prevents their resources from being spread too thinly. With that in mind, the fact that more than half of B2B businesses count social media marketing among the initiatives they’re prioritising is quite interesting. 

According to Statista, ‘Social media usage is one of the most popular online activities. In 2020, over 3.6 billion people were using social media worldwide, a number projected to increase to almost 4.41 billion in 2025.’ 

And with the rise of platforms like LinkedIn, social media has become a business environment as much as a consumer environment. 

Social media is an extension of a business’ brand. Unlike a website, it doesn’t emphasise conversions, but connections. While this might seem like a waste of time from a business’ perspective, it is anything but. 

The interactive components of social media that enable potential customers and businesses to interact with a brand is crucial to relationship-building in a time when buyers are understandably wary. They know all the tricks of the trade and they’re increasingly reluctant to share their data. 

By contrast, social media is a safe space. This means that if earning your audience’s trust is a priority, social media is where you need to be. 

How Much Are Other B2B Businesses Spending On Marketing?

Our B2B survey results found that the sweet spot for marketing spend seems to be less than 10% of a business’ overall revenue. As indicated in the graph, answers refer to estimated spend across all activities, including content creation, paid activity and marketing tools. Staffing costs weren’t included. 

Of the companies that indicated they spent more than 10%, most were larger organisations. In our experience, companies spending this proportion of their revenue on marketing have a focus on scaling quickly. In addition to a hefty budget to work with in the first place. This allows them to spend a significant proportion of their budget on marketing without necessarily pulling resources and funds from other areas. 

For small to medium established businesses that don’t consider scaling to be an immediate priority, spending less than 10% of their revenue on marketing is appropriate and comfortable. 

Given that profitability represents safety and security for many companies, this isn’t surprising. 

How Effective Are Other B2B Businesses’ Marketing Strategies?

From the outside looking in, it’s easy to assume that other B2B businesses have thriving marketing strategies. And sure, some do. But most don’t. 

Our research shows that in every single area of marketing we enquired about, businesses weren’t happy. From content marketing to SEO and PPC, more than 80% of respondents felt that results weren’t meeting their expectations. 

Of the initiatives we enquired about, email marketing produced the best results. But by a very slim margin! With just 20% of B2B businesses indicating satisfaction with the results of their email marketing. The runners-up were content marketing and SEO, followed by social media marketing. 

PR & outreach and PPC lagged behind at 16%. While influencer and affiliate marketing came in dead last at just 7%.

This does not necessarily mean that they reap the highest rewards, but that they are less likely to produce dissatisfying results than other areas of marketing. 

What Now?

Running a business without professional support from marketing experts can feel a lot like making blind decisions. The best you can do is guess at what your competitors and other B2B businesses are doing. And hope that you’re on the right track with your own marketing. 

As our survey results have shown, there’s no surefire way of achieving business success. There is no one marketing initiative that will solve all your problems. Nor is there a definitive budgeting sweet spot that will reap the highest returns. 

Although we encourage you to use our survey results as a benchmark, to give you a clearer picture of what other businesses are doing, the truth is that benchmarks can only take you so far. 

If you’re ready to start making better marketing decisions, book in a free no-obligation consultation with us today. 

Our B2B Business Survey

Seeing as we couldn’t tell businesses what to do without really knowing them, we instead set out to tell them what other B2B businesses are doing. We sought out hard data. Why? Because we wanted to provide concrete insights into the marketing spend and strategy of various B2B businesses. 

Business owners rightly keep their cards close to their chest. After all, the marketplace is a competitive environment. And sharing how they achieve their success isn’t exactly in a B2B business’ best interests. 

So we produced a survey—completed anonymously by companies from all over the world—to establish a benchmark for B2B businesses. 

Now, this benchmark can’t tell you definitively what to do with your business. But what it can do is give you some idea of how your approach compares with other B2B businesses. It will help you weigh up questions like, “is my marketing spend above average?” and “what are other businesses doing that I’m not?”. 

If your own answers vary wildly from those of other B2B businesses and you’re not achieving the results you’d hoped for, it may be time to book a free call with Murray Dare; we’ll advise you on the most promising route to success.

About Murray Dare

Murray Dare is a Marketing Consultant, Strategist and Director at Dare Media. Murray helps UK businesses find better ways to connect with their audiences through targeted content marketing strategies. Please follow Murray on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.