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Unveiling B2B Marketing Budget Trends and Tactics

Navigating the Budget Landscape: Insights for B2B Marketing Success

Updated: February 5, 2024
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Key Takeaways

  • Over 50% of B2B marketing managers reported a higher 2023 marketing budget than the previous year.
  • AI budgets experienced the highest growth in 2023 compared to the previous year.
  • 78% of B2B marketing managers are integrating AI into their marketing workflows.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 B2B marketing managers are reducing staff due to AI workflow integration.
  • 57% of B2B marketing managers believe AI workflow integration has made their marketing campaigns more effective.


  1. From Strategies to Allocations
  2. Marketing Budget Optimization in Action
  3. Budget Allocation Conundrum
  4. Innovative Marketing Tactics Unveiled
  5. Marketing Budget Insights for Large and Small Businesses

From Strategies to Allocations

Keeping up with marketing activities can feel like a full-time job. This can be especially true for small-business owners and start-up entrepreneurs who don’t want to overspend on expensive Google ads or lead generation. At the same time, small-business marketing costs don’t have to be overwhelming. With the right tools and insight, you can optimize marketing spending and maximize marketing investments.

We studied B2B marketing breakdowns to learn how organizations allocate their marketing spend. In this article, we’ll report our survey findings and highlight emerging trends that can help companies maximize their marketing budget. We’ll also examine some of the most common budgeting and spending challenges for marketing teams.

Marketing Budget Optimization in Action

From developing pay-per-click (PPC) social media ads to running search engine optimization (SEO) or Google Analytics on web pages, many marketing tactics fight for budget space. Let’s look at where companies plan to spend their marketing dollars in 2023 and how those plans compare to the previous year.

Where is your marketing budget being allocated

More than 50% of B2B marketing managers saw a marketing budget increase in 2023, but budgets were still low for many. The B2B marketing managers we surveyed said their ideal average marketing budget was over $88,000, but approved budgets were closer to $62,000, requiring managers to be creative and strategic about marketing spend.

According to our survey, 61% of marketing budgets included allocations for social media marketing. Furthermore, 48% of B2B marketing managers reported increased social media marketing spending from last year. Another 50% of marketing budgets included allocations for digital advertising, 48% included email marketing, and 45% included websites and blogs, demonstrating the priority B2B marketing teams are placing on virtual marketing strategies.

Although only 31% of marketing budgets incorporated allocations for artificial intelligence (AI), 75% of B2B marketing managers indicated a rise in AI marketing budgets compared to the previous year, which was the highest increase among various strategies. While the adoption of AI in marketing is on the rise, public relations is declining, with only 12% of marketing budgets including allocations for this avenue.

Marketing Budgets by Industry: Allocation

To reach their target markets, marketing leaders within each industry focus their marketing efforts on specific marketing avenues. These vary by industry, with marketing teams in retail aiming for different benchmarks than marketing teams in finance.

Social media marketing was a common budget allocation across all four industries but was the most common marketing expense for retail, marketing, and tech companies. In fact, 82% of retail companies included social media marketing allocations in their budgets, almost 20% more than any other industry. Digital advertising was the most common budget allocation among financial sector marketing budget templates.

Marketing Budgets by Industry: Budget Size

There was also a difference in each industry’s average marketing budget size and increase from the previous year. According to our study, B2B marketing managers in finance had the highest average budget for marketing expenses. The approved marketing budgets by industry were as follows:

  • Finance ($78,291)
  • Retail ($72,345)
  • Marketing ($64,245)
  • Technology ($52,648)

Despite already having large budgets, 53% of B2B marketing managers in finance reported a budget increase in 2023, the most of any industry except marketing (66%). Only 44% of marketing managers in tech and 43% in retail reported a budget increase this year.

Budget Allocation Conundrum

Budgeting doesn’t come without its challenges. Let’s look at the most common obstacles marketing managers face when choosing how to direct their funds and what they do to get the most out of their budgets.

Challenges when allocating the budget

Over half (52%) of the B2B marketing managers surveyed said limited funds were their greatest obstacle when allocating marketing budgets. Additionally, 31% felt pressure to set the right budget, and an equal number struggled with diversifying their marketing tactics. Other frequent challenges for marketing managers included:

  • Managing budget constraints
  • Balancing short-term and long-term goals
  • Identifying the most effective marketing channels
  • Prioritizing marketing initiatives

Budget Optimization for Maximum Return on Investment

To maximize a marketing budget as much as possible, marketing teams use several tactics to focus their marketing efforts and improve their return on investment (ROI). To improve ROI, 49% of B2B marketing managers determined target audiences, 35% analyzed marketing channels, and 34% identified business goals.

To focus their marketing efforts and reap the greatest benefits from their marketing dollars, 47% of survey respondents focused on customer needs. Another 45% relied on data to make decisions, using key performance indicators (KPIs) and other metrics to determine the success of marketing channels. For further budget optimization, 36% of marketing managers pivoted from physical to digital marketing, and 32% repurposed existing content.

Innovative Marketing Tactics Unveiled

Marketing managers use many innovative tactics to enhance their marketing efforts. Let’s explore the most effective B2B marketing tactics and discover how marketing managers incorporate AI into their marketing workflows.

Effective tactics to reach target audiences

Nearly 3 in 4 B2B marketing managers said influencer content marketing was the most effective approach for reaching target audiences and building brand awareness. Another 64% considered social media the most effective. Short-form videos (58%) and optimization of content for mobile devices (50%) were also effective strategies for many marketing plans.

In addition to digital marketing strategies, 59% of B2B marketing managers said using AI was the most effective tactic for reaching target audiences. But marketing managers used AI for more than marketing tactics; 78% also integrated AI into marketing workflows. Marketing teams used AI to help with marketing activities such as content ideation (42%), data collection (41%), ad optimization (40%), and market research (37%). Other possible uses for AI include marketing automation and lead generation.

Using AI to improve workflows paid off for many large and small businesses, as 57% of B2B marketing managers said AI workflow integration made their marketing campaigns more effective. While that’s good news for business balance sheets, it’s slightly troubling for employees, as nearly 1 in 4 marketing managers reduced staff after integrating AI into workflows.

AI Marketing Goals of High-Revenue Businesses

The use of AI in marketing efforts was especially prevalent among high-revenue businesses. B2B marketing managers working at businesses with over $50 million in 2022 annual company revenue were the most likely to use AI marketing strategies to reach new target audiences, with 50% having said they used AI this way. High-revenue companies also integrated AI into marketing workflows in the following ways:

  • Ad optimization (56%)
  • Data collection (42%)
  • Content ideation (40%)
  • Research (38%)
  • Data analysis (38%)

Marketing Budget Insights for Large and Small Businesses

While many marketing managers feel challenged by limited budgets and the pressure to allocate funds properly, there are significant opportunities to maximize investments. Marketing managers can optimize marketing budgets by focusing on target audiences, strengthening social media marketing campaigns, and leveraging AI. As marketing teams allocate resources to the most successful marketing channels, they can guide new customers through the sales funnel, drive stronger engagement, and improve their bottom line.


For this campaign, we surveyed 230 marketing managers in the B2B industry. Among them, 59% were men, 40% were women, and 1% identified as non-binary.

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