Budget allocation is a significant challenge for cloud marketing leaders today due to the sheer volume of martech tools available to invest in. There are countless ways to spend your marketing dollars throughout the funnel stages. And within the marketing team at Intricately, prioritization of everyone's time is critical – adding one extra project or investment can lead to a decrease in productivity.
New research from Gartner reveals another challenge cloud marketing leaders are up against: drastically shrinking budgets.
The State of Marketing Budgets in 2021, published last month, revealed insights into budget allocations and overall spend. Gartner's infographic also summarizes key points from the report, which revealed that overall marketing budgets are down by 4.6 percentage points – marking the lowest level in the history of the survey.
On average, marketing leaders who were surveyed stated they have just over half as much budget to spend this year as they did last year.
So how can cloud revenue leaders maximize their investments to make the most of their shrinking budgets? We combined this research from Gartner with advice from cloud revenue leaders to help your team improve efficiency and optimize your marketing spend to drive more revenue in the back half of FY21 and into 2022.
Here are four ways cloud marketing leaders can get the most out of their FY21 and FY22 budgets.
1. Evaluate in-house capabilities vs. external resources
According to Gartner, 29% of work previously carried out by agencies and external teams was moved in-house – with a significant change in strategic value added. Brand strategy, innovation and marketing strategy were the three leading areas CMO’s identified as having moved in-house. Situations in which Gartner clients considered in-housing or further building in-house teams included:
Still, Gartner warns – depending on your situation, you may not be saving as much as you think by shifting work to in-house:
“Budget line items for external agencies are not eliminated as that money (or a good portion of it) will have to be used for staffing, training, software, equipment and other hard and soft costs. This includes outsourcing directly to vendors that the agency would have done on your behalf.”
Beware if cost savings or cost reduction is the only reason that in-housing is being considered – it could be tough to prove, as it wouldn’t be dollar-for-dollar.
2. Eliminate excessive spend on analytics and data
Marketing analytics investment was prioritized as the 4th important area of spend – falling behind digital commerce, marketing operations, and brand strategy. At Intricately, we often find that today's marketing leaders aren't struggling with a lack of data, but rather too much of it.
With the amount of data now available to every business, marketers are spending more of their time mining numbers and less time managing their campaigns. And by the time they're done collecting, organizing, and analyzing huge stacks of data, the opportunity to make the findings actionable has likely passed – while many hours have been spent on routine work instead of performance improvement.
With too much emphasis placed on getting as much data as possible and not enough emphasis placed on tracking, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the numbers and plateau. Fortunately, aligning sales and marketing teams on prioritized data sets will alleviate some of the challenges associated with "analysis paralysis". As part of establishing your process, teams should go review their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and Total Addressable Market (TAM) together. Then, create a plan that identifies the required data points to inform your strategy – and who's responsible for keeping the databases clean.
3. Set up digital commerce for long-term success
Social distancing requirements in 2020 led to massive changes in traditional buyer journeys. What's more, studies indicate this trend will continue as digital-first journeys remain a growing buying method in 2021 and beyond.
Marketers also had to adjust their hybrid or brick-and-mortar buying experiences to accommodate an influx of online shopping. Digital commerce remains the top area of investment across marketing programs and operational areas as marketers evolved their tools and infrastructure to meet this new demand.
Now that we’re past the reactionary stage of this shift to digital, marketing teams have the opportunity to rethink their e-commerce strategy and digital infrastructure for long-term growth.
4. Widen your ABM approach to include sales and operations
Intricately research shows that 94% of cloud revenue leaders are actively pursuing account-based marketing (ABM) strategies. Yet the same study revealed that 50% of sales and marketing teams do not collaborate in go-to-market revenue programs.
An account-based revenue generation approach – where go-to-market counterparts in sales, marketing and operations share goals, data and research – will not only accelerate the success of your program, but can also uncover new funding to support it.
Download Intricately's 2021 Cloud Marketing Maturity Whitepaper for more insights to power your go-to-market strategy
As the cloud market becomes increasingly crowded, it's all the more critical for cloud marketing leaders to target the right prospects with the highest propensity to buy. Cloud leaders can learn the four-step process to implement a data-driven Account-Based Revenue Strategy using Intricately’s Cloud Marketing Maturity Model.