B2B SEO

How To Set Up Your B2B Marketing Budget in 2022

Everything you need to know to set up a stellar marketing budget for your B2B business.
How To Set Up Your B2B Marketing Budget in 2022
Arjun Ruparelia
by Arjun Ruparelia

Picture this:

You’ve just developed an incredible marketing plan. You know it’s everything your company needs, and you can’t wait to share it with the team. There’s just one thing you haven’t considered—cost.

Sure, you’ve got a winning strategy, but you need to align it with your budget too. We’re here to help you do just that by exploring the important questions you need to consider as a B2B marketer.

First, let’s talk numbers. 

How much do B2B companies spend on Marketing?

As per the August 2021 CMO survey, companies spend 12.1% of their overall budget, and 6.1% of their company revenues on marketing. Speaking specifically on B2B companies, on average, B2B product companies spent 9.6% and B2B service companies spent 9% of their overall budgets on marketing.

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A company’s marketing budget is driven by several factors—the company’s business needs, cash availability, and industry niche. You can use these figures as a benchmark when budgeting for your organization’s marketing efforts, but keep in mind your differentiating factors.

Of course, the precise strategies you deploy depend on your marketing goals and whether you’re a B2B or B2C brand.

How is marketing spend different in B2B?

The marketing mix for both B2C and B2B is built on more or less the same marketing channels, including:

  • Content marketing
  • Paid advertising
  • Social media 
  • Email marketing
  • SMS marketing

It’s worth noting the B2C marketing mix typically demands more marketing dollars from company budgets.

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Before preparing marketing budgets, B2B marketing teams need to consider a few challenges.

A B2B sales cycle runs considerably longer than B2C purchases, which are often instantaneous. B2B products are often also more complex than B2C products. These challenges can make B2B sales feel less exciting—it’s your job to change this.

Get creative and add all the spark you can within the boundaries of your B2B marketing budget. If you’re a B2B SaaS marketer, you can always look for SaaS marketing inspiration online. Marketing technology (MarTech) also goes a long way in adding that spark. 

Previous research concluded that B2C marketers have adopted MarTech at a faster rate than B2C marketers.

However, new research argues that this is incorrect.

Research by the Content Marketing Institute shows B2B marketing teams are actually better at adopting MarTech then their B2C counterparts. In fact, 67% of the most successful B2B marketers surveyed described their company’s proficiency with content marketing technology as expert or advanced.

So, B2B marketers aren’t far behind when it comes to adopting MarTech at all. Although this means that as a B2B marketer you’re more likely to see an increase in revenue with a better understanding of MarTech, it doesn’t change your upfront costs.

How much should B2B companies spend on marketing?

Many companies determine their B2B marketing spend using the MBR (Marketing Budget Ratio) formula. Here’s what the formula looks like:

Marketing investment ÷ Gross Revenue

B2C companies typically have higher MBRs, while B2B companies are relatively conservative. However, MBR still helps you benchmark against other companies in your industry.

That being said, don’t get swayed by numbers.

Based on your company’s specifics, the MBR you should aim for differs depending on how you decide to approach it. 

For instance, the marketing efforts of mature companies vs. a start up’s are very different.

Companies can also compute their MBR differently. For example, some companies may choose to include or exclude costs of hiring a marketing agency, training, or research.

It’s also important to see where you are in terms of covering the digital marketing landscape, and how aggressive you are about levelling up brand awareness. 

Using MBR is a good starting point. But simply relying on industry statistics to allocate a percentage of your total company budget to marketing can turn into a B2B marketing disaster. It’s essential to look inwards and understand what your company is able to do with the resources it has. Once you’ve done this, you can consider it in conjunction with industry stats.

First, account for your business’s needs and goals, and study your sales funnel to strategize for your traditional advertising and digital marketing spend. Then compare the numbers with industry benchmarks—not the other way round!

How Do I Define a B2B Marketing Budget?

Now, onto the fun part.

Roll up your sleeves and start thinking about where your marketing dollars will go.

1. Establish goals

First up, your KPIs. We’re not talking broader business goals anymore, we’re talking department specifics. For instance, improving your email marketing conversion rates by X%, or increasing your ARR by Y%.

You need tangible goals to measure success, so make sure you set them.

2. Define Marketing Channels

Pick your poisons—or as B2B marketers call them, marketing channels. Your marketing channel of choice depends on several factors, including target audience and whether you’re service or product-focused.

However, you should focus equally on both inbound and outbound marketing activities.

Inbound Channels

A mix of SEO, social media, and other inbound marketing channels provides your prospective clients a gateway to your brand. Inbound typically provides mouthwatering ROIs when done right.

For instance, a study found that content marketing can produce three times as many leads as traditional adverts like print ads or other traditional media. 

If you don’t have an in-house team already, it makes sense to hire an agency that can help you with link building, SEO, and social media. This keeps your hiring costs low and within your marketing department’s budget.

Outbound Channels

Paid media still claims 25% of every company’s marketing budget, while search and digital advertising account for a relatively smaller 16%.

Outbound channels like email are still a powerhouse for boosting ROI though. The approach earns B2B marketing teams $42 back for each marketing dollar spent—that’s a 4200% ROI.

3. Resources

Once you have the channels narrowed down, look for potential loose ends.

Do you have the right tools and assets needed to deploy your marketing strategy? Think SEO tools, email marketing platforms, and any other tools that support your marketing plan, or help your report on it!

You should also spend some time assessing how the strategy will impact your operational costs.For instance, if you achieve your goal of increasing your ARR by X%, will you need a bigger customer support team? 

It’s essential to consider the short and long run effects of your marketing spend, and how that affects your company and customer lifecycle. 

Marketing Channels to Focus On in 2022

Let’s talk about some of the best ROI marketing channels that will help you hit the ground running as your brand enters 2022.

1. Email

93% of B2B marketers swear by email—and this isn’t set to change in 2022. If you’re telling yourself email is old school, think again. Emails bring subscribers, which become leads, and potentially new customers. Plus, that’s no to mention the impressive ROI of email marketing–$36 for every $1 spent. 

2. SEO

Organic is all the rage, and SEO could be your ticket to scale fast in 2022. A UX-friendly website means nothing if people can’t find it. For this, you need to level up your on-page, off-page, and technical SEO game. Doing so can prove greatly beneficial for your business–like doubling sign ups in just three months. 

3. Content Marketing

80% of decision-makers say they want to learn about your brand by reading articles, not looking at ads.

This isn’t because they’re avid readers, but because they want to make educated and informed decisions. Content marketing is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.

There are dozens more channels you can’t out on. Think podcasts, online communities & forums, the metaverse—pretty much anywhere you can help provide solutions with your product and brand.

How to calculate B2B marketing ROI

The formula to calculate ROI is as follows:

[(Revenue attributable to marketing – Investment on marketing) ÷ Investment on Marketing] * 100

The challenge lies in determining the revenue attributable to marketing. It’s not complicated—just laborious.

Say you invested $50k in creating articles which led to you generating 1k sales-qualified leads. Of the 1K SQLs, 300 leads purchased your services—generating $150,000 in annual revenue.

Your ROI in this case? 

($150k – $50k) ÷ $50k * 100 = 200%

What are the best tools to set up a marketing budget?

A simple Google search will reveal a variety of tools that promise to help you minimize your budgeting woes. Of course, they’re not all worth your time, so here are a few that we’ve picked that you may want to consider.

1. Excel or Google Sheets

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Excel and Google Sheets are terrific (and free) tools for creating your budget. While it keeps your expenses lean, it’s no small task. You’ll likely need someone on the team dedicated to verifying the accuracy of inputs as there’s no room for error.

2. HubSpot budgeting templates

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HubSpot templates are free as well, but provide more structure than starting from scratch on a blank spreadsheet. The eight, fully customizable templates enable you to budget for all components of your marketing mix including content, paid ads, and web redesign.

3. HIVE9

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Hive9 is a B2B-focused tool for planning, budgeting, and analytics. It has a comprehensive dashboard that provides a broad overview of your campaign performance. The tool helps you channel your marketing efforts by allowing you to track where exactly your revenues are coming from.

Note: Download this free ROI tracker to start effectively measuring your SaaS SEO ROI. 

B2B Marketing Budget FAQs

How do I define a B2B marketing budget?

You can define your B2B marketing budget with a three-step process. 
1. Define your company’s goals 
2. Find the marketing channels you’d use to achieve those goals
3. Ensure that you have the resources in place to deploy your strategy on the chosen marketing channels
These steps set you up for a successful B2B marketing budget.

What is a good ROI for B2B marketing?

There’s no one-size-fits-all ROI that’s good for all B2B brands. However, you can use averages for different marketing channels as a benchmark:
1. Google ads: $2 for every $1 invested
2. Personalized emails: 122% ROI
3. Mobile marketing: $10.50 for every $1

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