Updated: Feb 2
By Marc Paulenich Nov 29, 2021
Photo Source: Unsplash, Northfolk As we begin to wrap up 2021 and head into 2022, I know many of us are breathing a sigh of relief after the challenges we’ve overcome this year. But in order to put this year behind us and look forward to a new year full of opportunities, it’s time to balance our marketing budget and make sure we’re equipped for what’s in store.
Marketing budgets have been an exceptionally hot topic over the past year or two, particularly for their tumultuous ups and downs. According to recent data from WARC’s Global Marketing Index (GMI), marketing budgets accelerated rapidly in the first half of the year but slowed as we got to September. Similarly, Gartner’s Annual CMO Spend Survey found that in 2021, marketing budgets fell to their lowest level in recent history, accounting for only 6.4% of company revenue in 2021. But while marketing budgets are lowering, expectations for marketing teams are rising. We are continuously relied on to fill the gaps as organizations recover from the pandemic, compete with emerging competitors and adjust for new consumer demands.
In the past few years, we’ve also learned that, realistically, it’s impossible for us to know what the future has in store. For that reason, as you prepare your 2022 budget, keep in mind the following questions: • Is the budget flexible? • Is it efficient? • Is it measurable?
In our current reality, it’s crucial that the answer is a solid “yes” to each of these three questions. Your budget needs to be flexible so you can quickly shift funds as challenges or opportunities arise. It needs to be efficient so you can make the most out of every dollar spent. And finally (and perhaps most importantly), it needs to be measurable so you can quickly evaluate and determine what’s working well, what can be improved and how to shift if needed. Talent and Technology With those three guideposts in mind, a major consideration for your 2022 marketing budget is determining the balance between investing in talent and technology. Across our industry, technology is increasingly winning that tug of war. According to the Gartner CMO Spend Survey mentioned earlier, marketing technology (martech) accounted for the largest portion (26.6%) of marketing budgets in 2021.
The rise of marketing technology has undoubtedly made flexibility, efficiency and measurability more attainable. From data collection to automation, martech has completely changed the way we work. Of course, there will always be a need for strong, sharp marketing talent. Becky Frankiewicz and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic put it well in their Harvard Business Review article from May 2020: “You can pretty much buy any technology, but your ability to adapt to an even more digital future depends on developing the next generation of skills, closing the gap between talent supply and demand, and future-proofing your own and others’ potential.”
It may seem like a no-brainer to invest in the latest, flashiest martech tools that promise to increase productivity and transparency — and theoretically revenue. But that technology will only take you so far without the talent to draw actionable insights and humanize the data for real impact and meaningful action. For this reason, it’s imperative that you carve out a significant investment in talent, whether that’s more training for your current team, hiring a specialist in a new area or outsourcing to a team that understands how to use that technology to its best ability.
Current Marketing Trends Similar to investing too much in technology rather than talent, we would be remiss not to take into consideration the latest marketing trends to evaluate what will continue to grow or emerge in 2022. Though you’ll need to adjust based on the specific audience or industry you are marketing for or within, there are three major trends that I believe will only accelerate in the coming year: performance marketing, long-term brand building and social listening.
• Performance marketing: Performance marketing continues to be an extremely smart spend for marketing teams — and, unquestionably, I predict it will continue to grow in 2022. When adding performance marketing to your budget, ensure you have the right person and/or team in place who can translate that valuable data and understand how to apply it, as well as a single source of data and reporting that can provide you with big-picture performance across channels.
• Long-term brand building: While long-term brand building is certainly not a new “trend,” it’s recently become a point of debate as performance marketing continues to rise. Performance marketing certainly needs a portion of your budget, but it’s incredibly important to also prioritize the investment in long-term brand building, or you’ll be hurting your budget down the road.
• Social listening: Thankfully, we are finally getting past the idea that social media is the intern’s job. It requires a high level of strategy and, if done right, offers a huge opportunity. As we head into 2022, it’s now time to take social a step further. Consider investing in social listening, which means monitoring outside your own social media channels and looking at frequently searched keywords, trending topics, hot-button issues and more. Social listening offers limitless insights that can expand across a variety of areas within marketing, such as crisis communications, influencer management and customer research.
As we put 2021 behind us, it’s time to look forward to the opportunities 2022 will bring. Having a solid marketing budget in place — one that can account for anything that comes your way, prioritizes a healthy mix of technology and talent, and considers emerging trends.
How will you reach your customers? How can we help? What is your budget....
Share your comments with the community and share this post with 3 of your colleagues.