Most B2C Marketers Lack Confidence In Their Budgets: Nielsen Study

Email marketers are usually responsible only for their own budgets. But they need to look at the bigger picture, and how they figure in. 

How many know, for example, that 60% of all top B2C marketers lack confidence in their budget-making process? That statistic is provided in Solving the Marketer’s Dilemma, a study released on Monday by Nielsen.

That insecurity may be why marketers change their budgets so often. Of those surveyed, 58% rework them two to four times a year. Worse, 8% adjust them ten or more times per year, and 15% five to nine times. Only 20% do not alter their budgets. 

Nielsen adds that 52% of those that use marketing-mix models are very confident, versus 30% of those don’t.

However, less than half use media-mix models, and a fifth don’t even know what they are. The very biggest companies are most likely to employ them.

Emailers may be curious as to how their top teams decide their spends on media vehicles. They depend mostly on internal analytics or the prior year’s budget. Specifically, they look at:

  • Adjustment to budget from prior year — 68%
  • Results of advanced analytics from internal group — 51%
  • Recommendations from media agency — 28%
  • Best guess — 5%



And what tools do they use to gauge the impact of these outlays? They deploy:

  • Spreadsheet-based analysis that they do in-house — 57%
  • Analysis done by an analytic agency/or consultants — 40%
  • Analysis done by media agency — 38%
  • Simulation software used within my company — 23%
  • We do not estimate the impact of our marketing budget allocations — 5%  

Confidence levels vary with the types of tools being used. 

For example, 56% of those that use simulation software are very confident, compared with 48% who rely on analysis by analytic agency/consultants. Only 43% who depend on internal spreadsheet analysis are bursting with confidence.

Nielsen advises companies to:

  • Apply data to decision-making
  • Use a scenario planning tool
  • Get support from external experts

Nielsen surveyed almost 200 marketing budget decision makers at large B2C companies—those with over $10 million in revenue and marketing spends of $1 million or more.   

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