More than two-thirds of businesses will increase their marketing budget this year, with half of those expecting search engine optimisation (SEO) to be their main revenue driver in 2023, according to a new report.
Following a survey of 1,000 UK-based marketers, Impression has created a report delving into the thoughts and plans of marketing departments this year – and overall it’s looking very positive. More than three-quarters (77%) of professionals whose marketing budgets are expected to increase say their firm will also be looking to expand their internal marketing team in the next 12 months.
Despite this investment in internal marketing resource, statistics show that many will strengthen the capabilities of their teams by leaning on external support, either through a freelancer or agency. Those planning to outsource some of their work anticipate getting help with at least one of the following areas:
- Search engine optimisation (SEO)
- Email marketing
- Organic social media
- Public relations (including digital PR)
- Influencer marketing
Investments are also expected to be made in the same five areas, in the same order as outlined above.
Mikey Emery, left, commercial director at Impression, a full service digital marketing agency with offices in Nottingham and London, comments: “Despite the continued period of economic uncertainty, it’s refreshing to see that businesses are being cautiously optimistic and targeting growth in 2023. The pandemic saw many choose to invest heavily in their digital maturity and as a result, we witnessed growth like never seen before from those that could trade online.
“Whilst markets may be more challenging, a broad improvement to how businesses can attract and connect with customers means there is still an opportunity for businesses to experience growth”.
Marketing professionals say 2023 will not be without its hurdles, however. Out of the 1,000 respondents, the majority cite the rising cost of living as the biggest business challenge, followed by increased operational costs, supply chain and stock issues, and recruitment.
When it comes to marketing challenges, specifically, 43% agree that knowing the correct budget split per channel is the biggest dilemma they face when it comes to choosing their channels. Successfully integrating resource (teams and/or agency partners) and successfully integrating channels make up the rest of the top three challenges.
Top tips on deciding the right budget split per channel
Isabella Smith, digital strategy consultant at Impression has some advice for businesses on how to distribute budgets.
- Ensure you are clear about what success looks like
Understanding what your business is trying to achieve is the first step in making the right decisions about budgeting. Having a clear measurement framework detailing long-term business objectives and short-term KPIs means you will know what success looks like at the end of your campaign.
- Budget recommendations are hypotheses
Often marketeers can become overwhelmed when working out how much to invest into each channel in order to achieve their goals. The best approach is to gather as much data based evidence as possible in order to come to an insight led hypothesis or set of hypotheses. As long as you have a clear measurement framework for evaluating, you will gather learnings which will fuel your budgeting decisions moving forward.
- Data, data, data
Which are the data points that will help inform these decisions? Historical performance data is the first port of call. Leaning on what has happened in the past will help forecast future channel performance and their ability to hit the necessary KPIs. Alongside this, competitor and market analysis is required to contextualise your forecasts; these might impact future performance and ultimately, the channel’s ability to hit the KPIs.
- A need to constantly evolve and adapt
With budget decisions, continuous evaluation is needed in order to give you the information needed to make optimisations. The forecasts you made might not turn out as planned, and that is okay as long as you know why and can make amends to your budget plan in order to make changes, which will increase the chances of your channels hitting the KPIs in the future. Having to change your budget splits isn’t a negative, it’s a useful learning that will feed into your next budgeting process.