Marketing investment across the IT vendor community will increase by 6.1% for 2007. This increase in marketing investment will lag behind the growth rate of global vendor revenue, which is forecasted by IDC to be 6.7% in 2007. Tech marketers should watch this trend closely, and monitor their marketing budget ratio (MBR) and marketing investment change (MIC) data versus the industry. My research within IDC on marketing ROI has consistently shown that tech marketing leaders tend to expand their budgets at a rate equal to or greater than their revenue growth rate. Short-term budget reductions may improve short-term operating margins while sacrificing longer-term growth. This holds especially true for disinvestment in the brand and awareness-building elements of the marketing mix, which tend to return the best results when managed with a smooth and steady investment strategy. Here are some key guidelines for tech marketing executives and their operational counterparts for 2008:
- Think more about tech marketing from the "outside-in" versus the "inside-out." Tech marketers traditionally "go to market" in a one-way trumpeting of product and feature messages. As buyers get smarter and savvier, these product-centric and very expensive techniques will be less well received, and the return on traditional marketing investments will decline.
- Embrace interactive marketing. The new online and interactive marketing mix represents an excellent launching point for better "outside-in" practices and the potential for greater returns on investment. However, many vendors are off to some operational false starts in this area. IDC suggests beginning with an investment and operational review of all Web 2.0 marketing techniques.
- Start a channel marketing measurement initiative. The return on the channel marketing dollar is one of the murkier areas of the marketing investment portfolio. Now is the time to invest in establishing a set of improved processes and ongoing measures for channel marketing operations.Improve the overall "end-to-end" marketing in your company. Reduce your sales and marketing integration challenges by creating a single view of the customer from end to end; rationalize the number of customer databases if necessary. Better leverage customer and prospect data to improve the entire customer-creation process, from initial awareness through advocacy.
Source: Marketing Investment Planner 2008: Benchmarks and Key Performance Indicators, IDC #208489, September 2007