It looks like business-to-business marketers are feeling optimistic these days. Forrester Research, as reported in Advertising Age, says B to B marketing budgets are expected to rise by 6 percent this year.
B to B marketing budgets had fallen considerably in 2009 and 2010, in the wake of the recession. But they came back up a bit over the past two years, although they're still a lot below pre-recession marketing spending levels.
On average, B to B marketers will allocate 4 percent of revenues to marketing, which is up from a low of 2.5 percent in 2012, but that's still quite a bit less the 5 - 10 percent of revenues that was spent on marketing pre-recession.
Trade shows will remain the biggest single line item in the typical B to B marketing budget, accounting for nearly 20 percent of the total marketing spend. Thirty percent of those surveyed by Forrester plan to decrease trade show spending this year, while 21 percent will increase it.
Social media will be an increasing factor in B to B marketing, experts are saying, but it still remains a fraction of what consumer marketers will try in the social media arena.
LinkedIn seems to be the preferred social media platform for B to B, even as some experts are predicting MySpace will make a comeback. That might be true for companies in the music and entertainment arenas, but I don't see it happening for most B to B marketers. MySpace hasn't been on most people's radar for a few years.
Whichever marketing tools are utilized -- advertising, trade shows, PR, social media -- the pressure is on, obviously, to get more for less. Budgets may be growing a bit, but they're still tight.