Commentary

3 Trends Driving Marketing Spending In 2018

Marketing spend is on the rise, with 61% of marketing decision makers planning to increase spending on content creation and 57% on digital marketing in 2018 alone.

In the ever-changing marketing game, tactics are always evolving. Here are three key trends that will drive marketing efforts in 2018: 

  1. Getting personal in a content-overwhelmed world  

Seventy-four percent of Americans report receiving too many emails, and I, like all marketers, certainly fall into that crowd. More than 150 promotional emails hit my inbox each day, and the vast majority of them aren’t very targeted. So when someone reaches out to me in a personal manner, it sticks. 

In response to the content glut, account-based marketing has risen in popularity. The practice of ABM focuses on dedicating extremely targeted efforts to a smaller pool of prospects to try to make them complete an action – or at least know who you are. 

Successful ABM begins with a strategic prospect list in which both sales and marketing are aligned. Maybe there are 1,000 companies on that list; maybe there are only eight. In either scenario you know the exact person or people you should be talking to, and identifying  characteristics about them. That could include where they’re based, where they are in their journey to purchase and maybe even some of their outside-of-work interests. 

While it may seem risky to focus so much on such a small set of prospects, the results show the value in the effort. Ninety-seven percent of marketers said ABM had a higher ROI than other marketing initiatives. More detail and dedication will pay off in the end. 

  1. Capitalizing on the desire for targeted, quality engagement

In such a content-saturated environment, it’s easy to pump out low-quality content and marketing collateral just to say your organization is adding to the noise. But simply checking a box won’t cut it for your marketing metrics – focusing on quality of quantity is key, especially as demand generation remains a target of big marketing spend into 2018.

Demand generation is the shining star of marketing. Not only do people crave personalized touchpoints – they also crave quality experiences through those touchpoints. Your leads need to be nurtured in order to convert, but 65% of B2B marketers don’t partake in demand gen.

Content is of utmost importance when it comes to demand generation, and 78% of CMOs believe custom content is the future of marketing. Custom content practices are getting more advanced, too. An increasingly popular tactic involves turning to marketing automation tools to drop in dynamic content depending on the IP address interacting with your site. 

  1. Tying marketing efforts to organizational financial health 

These days, organizational leadership commonly tasks marketing with thinking bigger than metrics like clicks and views. Marketers are responsible for meeting lead, new customer and even revenue goals. 

Today, 75% of marketing leaders say they own or share responsibility for profit and loss (P&L). But this increased responsibility appears to give marketers a leg up: Marketers with P&L responsibility on average have access to budgets 20% higher than those not tied to P&L numbers. Tools like Pardot and Salesforce are game changers in terms of deploying marketing tactics and gaining some visibility into overall success. 

The constant push for marketing accountability in revenue numbers proves that lead attribution tactics must be constantly iterated. As marketers receive more responsibility to ensure healthy numbers, continuously molding your attribution model and software stack is crucial. As our technology options get stronger and data collection deeper, I’m excited to see how the gap in this process narrows in 2018. 

As the atmosphere of marketing messages gets more dense, personalized targeting and organizational health metrics will only carry more weight. Technological innovation challenges marketing to become increasingly genuine in its tactics, and marketers are gearing up for increased responsibility on the bottom line. Personally, I can’t wait to see how we rise to the occasion.

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