Digital Is Spared from Sweeping Budget Cuts

Paul Nolan

How important is digital marketing spend? A Gartner spend survey of more than 400 marketing leaders in North America and Europe in August 2020 indicated that budget constraints initiated when the pandemic hit would continue into 2021, yet budgets for technology and digital channels may actually grow.

Gartner reports that technology currently accounts for the largest proportion of marketing budgets (26.2%), compared to media (24.8%), in-house labor (24.5%) and agencies (23.7%). CMOs remain bullish about technology heading into the next 12 months: 68% expect their already significant outlays to increase.

Asked which planned technology deployments they would postpone in the event of an economic downturn, marketing leaders
say they’re least likely to cut customer data platforms, mobile marketing platforms and digital commerce tech.

An ongoing challenge, however, is optimizing the use of technology. Gartner research shows that marketers use only 58% of their existing technology capabilities. Extracting their full value may come with costs such as upskilling marketing talent or investing in workflow management applications. Gartner recommends that B2B CMOs build and promote digital-first programming such as webinars and digitally guided selling tools that help answer customer questions and support conversions.

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