Friday, March 21, 2008

2008 Outlook for Tech. Mktg. Investment

Well, we've just completed our 6th annual technology marketing barometer study, and I have some good news and bad news to share with you. Let's get the bad news over with first. As marketers, we have our challenges cut out for us in 2008:
  1. Challenging economic environment in 2008: An unsteady marketplace is introducing significant aversion to risk by tech executives.
  2. Drive for overall marketing efficiency and effectiveness will continue with mounting budget pressure and market competitiveness.
  3. Market and marketing channels will continue to proliferate, creating challenges and opportunities.
  4. Tech marketing budgets will increase by 4% for the full year 2008. Although this is an increase, it is the lowest that IDC has forecast in the past four years and portends further pressure on the marketing function for cost control and productivity increases.

Now a bit of good news. For the companies that have been diligent in improving their marketing operations and effectiveness during the past five years, you are best positioned to "weather the storm", and may even have an opportunity to take share.

Here are some top level insights and guidance:

  • Be prepared to withstand a budget reduction while still being able to keep the core elements of the marketing business model in place and productive. The best marketing leaders are always in a position to shift marketing investment as needed in a calculated manner to reduce any potential short or long-term implications on marketing's strategy.
  • Don't just talk about aligning marketing and sales; but take clear steps towards improving this problem. For example, integrate marketing and sales operations either directly or indirectly and focus on improving key processes such as lead management; increase field marketing’s strategic role, moving beyond a pure support function to contribute to marketing and sales' local go to market strategy; and better enable sales, such as improving the value of marketing assets, enabling greater accessibility to those assets and improving channels of communication.
  • Continue transforming your marketing organization to prepare for the next 12 to 18 months, and communicate this strategy to your executive peers: reduce the silos within corporate marketing and between corporate marketing, business unit marketing and the regions; better understand and engage the customer, both internally and externally; and increase your speed of measurement and action as a team.

Feel free to contact me at mgerard@idc.com for a copy of my recent telebriefing which offers more details to help guide your strategy and execution in 2008.