Technology companies expect to increase their marketing budgets 3.7% this year over last, according to IDC's “2013 Tech Marketing Barometer,” released earlier this month.
The tenth annual study was based on an online survey of 64 senior marketing executives at large technology companies conducted between Jan. 15 and Feb. 26. Average revenue at the companies surveyed was $4.6 billion.
“Marketing budgets will grow; but, for the fourth year in a row, marketing budgets will lag behind revenue growth for tech vendors,” said Rich Vancil, group VP-executive advisory group at IDC, during a conference call with IDC clients.
Revenue will grow by an estimated 4.8% at tech companies this year, according to the survey.
“Even with the optimism of 3.7% [marketing budget growth], once we get through the year, it will probably be more like a 2%-to-3% budget increase,” Vancil said.
Marketing budget growth will vary by sector, with cloud computing software companies showing the strongest growth this year (up more than 15.0%), according to the survey.
Software companies in general will increase their marketing budgets between 4.3% and 4.8%; hardware companies will boost budgets between 1.0% and 1.5%; and services companies will decrease marketing budgets between 1.0% and 3.0%, IDC found.
Within marketing program investment this year, advertising (including digital) will constitute the greatest percentage (25.7%), followed by events, including digital (21.4%). Making up the rest of the marketing mix this year will be marketing support and sales tools (13.1%); direct marketing, including email (11.0%); website content and development (6.6%); collateral (5.5%); PR (4.6%); market intelligence (4.5%); marketing automation (3.1%); analyst relations (1.7%); social marketing (0.9%); and other (1.9%).
Altogether, digital marketing will make up about one-third of total marketing spending, up from 29.2% last year.
Within digital marketing, the top investment categories for tech marketers are display ads (23.6% of total digital marketing spending); company websites (17.4%); search ads (15.9%); marketing automation (14.9%); email marketing (13.6%); SEO (5.8%); digital events (4.5%); social networks (3.7%); and other websites (0.6%).
IDC asked marketers to allocate 100 percentage points toward technology investment areas for this year. The top choice was lead/campaign management systems (22.0%), followed by customer databases (19.5%) and website systems (17.7%).
Other investment areas this year include marketing analytics (11.8%); content/digital asset/sales enablement systems (9.0%); social marketing infrastructure (7.2%); personalization systems (6.1%); mobile content marketing (3.1%); and other technologies (3.6%).
“For b2b companies, lead management is the major process for marketing,” said Kathleen Schaub, VP-CMO Advisory Service at IDC. “We are also seeing more emphasis on website development this year as people are doing upgrades and dealing with content issues.”
Within lead management, the top programs marketers will focus on this year are campaign automation systems, including nurture paths and lead flows (22.3%); data capture, cleansing, maintenance and governance (17.3%); and lead scoring (15.0%).
Other lead management activities this year are improving marketing dashboards (10.5%); integrating digital processes with human actions, such as live chat (9.8%); implementing service-level agreements with sales teams and channels (8.9%); developing cross-functional taxonomy and policies (8.9%); creating cross-functional governance teams (5.0%); and other activities (2.3%).