2014 Tech Marketing Budgets Showing Strength – Led by the Shift to the 3rd Platform

IDC’s CMO Advisory Service recently completed our 12th annual Tech Marketing Benchmark Survey and just last week had our client and participant webinar readout. With the results in, tech marketers should be excited; there are clear signs that marketing is gaining more respect, more responsibility, and more budget! For the first time since 2006, Tech Marketing Budgets will increase at the same rate as revenues (3.5% increases for budgets, 3.7% for revenues.) Coupled with this, the absolute number of companies increasing their marketing budgets continues to rise. Party time, right?

Well, maybe not quite.

The tech industry has hit an inflection point around the 3rd platform (cloud, social, mobile, and big data & analytics.) In fact, IDC is projecting that within the next 5+ years the 3rd platform will cannibalize revenue growth from the 2nd platform. Meaning, not only will 3rd Platform driven products account for all the revenue growth within the tech industry, but they will take market share from what was previously 2nd platform revenue.

What does this mean for marketers? 

A lot actually, tech marketers are in the fortunate (or fortuitous) position of being smack in the middle of this shift to the 3rd platform. Not only are the technologies being marketed transforming, but the day-to-day job of a marketer is being greatly affected. This is because the true impact of this shift is within next generation types of applications, industries – and ultimately – capabilities that the 3rd platform provides. Moving forward every marketer and every marketing organization must be updating skills, technologies, and processes. A lot is at stake and budgets are a clear indicator;  3rd platform marketing organizations are being funded at 6 to 8 times greater than 2nd platform organizations (see image below). The largest tech companies in the world are shifting to the 3rd platform and often (as they should be) the marketing organizations are exerting significant energy to be a large part of this company-wide shift. IDC sees moving to the 3rd platform as mandatory and marketing is no exception.

What can a marketing organization do to make sure they succeed in transforming rather than succumbing to turmoil?

  1. Understand which parts of the business are 3rd platform: These are the areas that should be supported with stronger marketing spend.  These are the areas to integrate new marketing technologies and processes in first. These areas will make or break your entire company. Use this opportunity to position marketing as a driver for the company’s future success!
  2. Invest in 3rd platform staff and programs: Supporting 3rd platform products is key, but marketing also needs to shift the way it operates. This means investing in 3rd platform technologies and skills like: marketing technology, sales enablement, content marketing, and data & analytics. These areas create leverage and efficiencies for the entire marketing organization. In short, putting the right people, in the right positions, with the right tools  gives your marketing organization its greatest opportunity for success. 
  3. Have a plan, but be realistic and be patient: The larger the company the more time should be allowed for this organizational shift to the 3rd platform. Marketing leaders must definitively set the end vision for their 3rd platform marketing organization, but at the same time must have the patience to see the entire process through. The path may be non-linear and there will certainly be failures and misdirection along the way, but despite the time and effort needed, the end results will pay back the marketing organization (and company) many times over. 

If you are interested in how your company’s marketing organization stacks up as this shift to the 3rd platform continues, reach out to me directly at smelnick (at) IDC (dot) com.

You can follow @SamMelnick on Twitter

Call For Participation – IDC’s CMO Advisory Service’s 2014 Tech Marketing Benchmark Survey

It is that time of the year – IDC’s CMO Advisory Service is in the field with our Marketing Benchmarks Study. This is our 12th year conducting this study that is used by leading marketing organizations to benchmark their marketing spend and organizational structures. Now it’s your chance to join in this important research; I would like to offer an invitation to participate in this survey. 

Below are the essential “need to knows” around our survey and further down I’ll dive into all the great value of benchmarking your marketing organization:

What are the benefits?

  • Complimentary copy of our 2015 Marketing Investment Planner to benchmark your company’s marketing data against industry data.
  • Receive an invitation to our exclusive client telebriefing held by IDC Analysts.
  • Access to IDC’s industry standard marketing taxonomy.

What is needed? 

  • Email me (smelnick (at) IDC (dot) com) to get our survey instrument and taxonomy.
  • A “lead” marketing executive with access to marketing budget and staffing allocations. 
  • Complete the survey by August 1st.

What is the Quality of Data and Confidentially?  

  • This is the 12th year IDC has fielded the Tech Marketing Benchmark Survey and will include participation from many of the 100 largest tech companies – this depth and expertise is unmatched
  • All responses are 100%, no questions asked, confidential. We take this part very seriously.  

Bonus to all Participants

  • All participants will be eligible for our 2015 Chief Marketing Officer ROI Matrix and will have access to their placement on the Matrix. A great way to easily compare your marketing progress against the rest of the industry’s. 


Need More Information: View this excerpt from Kathleen Schaub’s excellent post, IDC Tech Marketing Benchmark: Behind the Scenes. It explains all the intricacies (and value of benchmarking).

Why do companies benchmark? A benchmark provides context for decision-making. You spend a million dollars a year on social marketing. So what? If your CEO asks you this question, what will you say? Tech marketers tell us that they like to benchmark for the following reasons:

  • Improve the quality of annual planning: Last year’s program budget and gut feelings are no longer sufficient input
  • Gain insight into critical trends: Learn what industry leaders and competitors are doing – and how you stack up
  • Reallocate costs: Identify areas of overspending and opportunities for better value
  • Transform with confidence: Answer questions such as how much to invest in new areas like social marketing or how should I re-organize my department?
  • Drive with data: C-level executives increasingly expect marketing leaders to manage their business with the same level of operational excellence as other corporate functions.
  • Get an independent view: Benchmark data provides IDC analysts with a wealth of information that make guidance to clients personalized and accurate guidance

Feel free to reach out and let’s have a discussion whether it’s the right time for your organization to participate!

Email me at: (smelnick (at) IDC (dot) com) or find me on twitter @SamMelnick

Are Ad Agencies Keeping Pace with Marketing’s Massive Digital Uptake? (Hint: Maybe Not)

Today, marketing’s equivalent to the Brady Bunch’s “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” just might be “Digital, Digital, Digital!” This is with good reason. Since 2009, digital marketing spend within large B2B tech companies has grown, and is growing, at an enormous rate. As you might have seen, IDC expects the entire tech industry to pass the 50% mark of digital spend vs non-digital spend by the end of 2016! This is the client side, but what about on the agency side, are these important partners keeping pace with their clients? At the end of April, Ad Age published their most recent “Agency report”, it shows the agency industry’s digital revenue over the past 5 years. While, agencies’ digital revenues are growing and, as a percentage, these revenues are comparable to what their clients are spending on digital – the lack of substantial growth for agencies’ digital revenue is notable. 
As seen from the image above, 5 years ago agencies were already generating over 1/4 of their revenue from digital, where as tech companies were spending only 13% of their budgets on digital. Since then, these same digital marketing budgets have grown at a CAGR of approximately 21% – agencies’ digital revenue have grown closer to a 6.5% CAGR, a third the rate of tech marketer’s digital budgets. This begs the question, are agencies keeping up with digital innovation? Does the agencies’ slower digital revenue growth give us a glimpse into the future where in-house marketers are the digital experts?
Below are two comments that I think help parse out this story:
  1. Chapter  7 in Scott Brinker’s (AKA: @chiefmartec) marketing book, A New Brand of Marketing, “From Agencies to In-House Marketing”,  lays out the in-house vs agency shift perfectly. Traditionally agencies’ bread and butter is within the advertising campaign – as advertising has moved digitally, ad networks and ad-tech have continued to mature allowing practitioners to work directly with these networks and/or utilizing programmatic ad buying to optimize their spend. In a sense, cutting out the middle man (agencies). This might help explain the large difference in growth between digital revenue growth at agencies and digital spend from the practitioner. While companies are spending more dollars on digital, it is more of a do-it-yourself approach.
  2. Anecdotally, through my conversations with clients and marketing executives, on more than one occasion I have heard marketers bringing core agency work internal. The two main reasons for this action are:
    •  Scope: For marketing executives who are trying to build a full scale demand engine or attribution models, they are finding it very hard to identify an agency partner who can deliver this vision from start to finish, particularly with expertise across the entire project. (A fair caveat is very few companies can do this internally!) They are still utilizing agencies, but typically for projects around high level strategy or vision and/or very specific tactical portions of their larger campaigns.
    •  Speed: To truly compete digitally, marketers have realized that speed is an asset. From content creation, to adjusting advertisements in real-time and to making sure the latest and greatest technologies are being tested and used, speed is a factor. Advanced marketers are often realizing by bringing many of these activities in-house, it is much easier to increase speed – it is also much easier to retain the talent that can execute in the manner necessary to succeed.
The above instances and the overlying data are something for marketers to be aware of and agencies to be concerned about, but, like with most changes this is not a black and white scenario. With agencies, similar to most marketing organizations today, it’s about reinvention. My colleague Gerry Murray, outlines some of this reinvention that IDC expects to happen within the agency (or more specifically marketing services) world in his latest blog post, Marketing as a Service (MaaS): The next wave of disruption for marketing tech. Ultimately, the vendors that continue with business as usual, relying on media buys or traditional agency/client relationships, risk stagnant digital revenue growth and an outdated offering.
What success are you seeing within your “in-house marketing team” and how are you continuing to leverage your agency partners? I would love to hear your opinion in the comments below or by reach out to me on twitter @SamMelnick

2013 Tech Marketing Budget Trends: 3rd Platform Companies and Products Lead the Growth

Yesterday, IDC’s CMO Advisory Service had our annual Tech Marketing Benchmark Webinar. This study goes out to close to 100 senior lever marketing executives and represents the largest B2B Tech companies in the world (this year the average company revenue was $9.1B.) The webinar was packed with great information and was a great success. However the overlying question each year is where will marketing budgets sit at the end of the year and what direction are they moving. The results are some good news mixed with trends that point to hard work that marketers need to do around their budgets. 
Good News: More Organizations are Increasing their Marketing Spend Than Decreasing

As seen in the graph below, across the entire tech industry a net of 15% of companies are increasing marketing spend versus those decreasing. While it may not always feel like it, there are marketing budget increases out there to be had!

Challenge for Marketers in 2014: Finding the Right Areas that Should Receive More Marketing Budget

Despite the fact more companies across the tech industry are increasing marketing budgets than decreasing, budgets at the aggregate levels are flat to slightly negative. IDC expects Marketing budgets to decrease 0.5% year-over-year from 2012 to 2013. So that leaves us with an interesting juxtaposition, more companies are increasing budgets than decreasing, but at the aggregate weighted level the data shows a slight decrease in overall budgets. Three reasons we are seeing this:

  1. The largest companies within the Tech Industry are seeing flat to declining marketing budgets due to continued transformation within the industry. This brings the weighted levels down. 
  2. Hardware companies (as seen in the above graph) are the only sector where more companies are decreasing marketing budgets than increasing. Companies within this sector are typically larger and the Hardware industry is feeling more affects from the industry’s transformation. 
  3. 3rd Platform companies and other high growth product lines and business units are driving much of the revenue growth and in turn are receiving much of the increases within marketing budgets. These companies are smaller, so they add the “n” value of companies increasing, but do not affect the weighted average as heavily. 
Illustrating the final point (#3) you can see in the graph below that Cloud Software Vendor’s (who are right smack in the middle of IDC’s 3rd Platform) Revenue Growth, Marketing Investment Growth, and Marketing Budget Ratio (total marketing budget / total revenue) are all at least 3X  that of their on-premise peers. Some of this can be attributed the size of the Cloud Vendors (typically smaller), but the growth being seen in the 3rd Platform areas is undeniable.
Note: If you would like to discuss cloud vendors marketing benchmarks further please email me at smelnick (at) idc (dot) com!
In closing the 3 budget takeaways we are giving for budgets in 2013 – 2014 are:
  1. More companies are increasing (vs. decreasing) marketing spend. (This is good news!)
  2. There is not enough “Peanut Butter” to go around… (so an even spread will not work this year)
  3. Marketing Investment will inevitably find growth areas: products; markets;  segments; or geos. (So, work hard to find those areas and invest wisely)
Sam Melnick is a Research Analyst at IDC’s CMO Advisory Service and manages the entire benchmark survey and study. You can follow him on twitter at @SamMelnick

Benchmark your Marketing Organization with IDC Research – 2013 Tech Marketing Benchmark Survey

Here at IDC’s CMO Advisory Service we are in the field with our 11th annual Tech Marketing Benchmarks Study. I would like to offer an invitation to participate to marketing executives across the industry. 

Have you ever wondered, “Is my marketing organization receiving enough budget to compete?” or “Exactly how much should I be spending on marketing automation?” If so, IDC’s CMO Advisory Service’s benchmark survey has been helping senior marketers answer questions like these for over 10 years!

Below are the essential “need to knows” around our survey and further down I’ll dive into all the great value of benchmarking your marketing organization. Let’s get started:

What are the benefits?

  • Complimentary copy of our 2014 Marketing Investment Planner to benchmark your company’s marketing data against the industry’s data.
  • Receive an invitation to our client only telebriefing held by IDC Analysts. 

What is needed? 

  • Email me (smelnick (at) IDC (dot) com) to get our survey instrument and taxonomy.
  • Complete the survey and send it back in a timely manner (‘due date’ to be discussed).

What is the Quality of Data and Confidentially?  

  • This is the 11th year IDC has fielded the Tech Marketing Benchmark Survey and will include participation from many of the 100 largest tech companies – this depth and expertise is unmatched
  • All responses are 100%, no questions asked, confidential. We take this part very seriously.  

Bonus to all Participants

  • All participants will be eligible for our 2014 Chief Marketing Officer ROI Matrix and will have access to their placement on the Matrix. A great way to easily compare your marketing progress against the rest of the industry’s. 



Need More Information: View this excerpt from Kathleen Schaub’s excellent post, IDC Tech Marketing Benchmark: Behind the Scenes. It explains all the intricacies (and value of benchmarking).

Why do companies benchmark? A benchmark provides context for decision-making. You spend a million dollars a year on social marketing. So what? If your CEO asks you this question, what will you say? Tech marketers tell us that they like to benchmark for the following reasons:

  • Improve the quality of annual planning: Last year’s program budget and gut feelings are no longer sufficient input
  • Gain insight into critical trends: Learn what industry leaders and competitors are doing – and how you stack up
  • Reallocate costs: Identify areas of overspending and opportunities for better value
  • Transform with confidence: Answer questions such as how much to invest in new areas like social marketing or how should I re-organize my department?
  • Drive with data: C-level executives increasingly expect marketing leaders to manage their business with the same level of operational excellence as other corporate functions.
  • Get an independent view: Benchmark data provides IDC analysts with a wealth of information that make guidance to clients personalized and accurate guidance

Feel free to reach out and let’s have a discussion whether it’s the right time for your organization to participate!

Email me at: (smelnick (at) IDC (dot) com) or find me on twitter @SamMelnick

Slide Deck – 2013 Cloud Marketing Trends

There is no arguments that the cloud software industry is currently top of mind for many, in fact enterprise companies are even receiving their share of love. While the industry as a whole has our attention, what about marketing departments at these companies. 
How are CMOs at these fast growing cloud organizations managing their marketing budget? What are they worried about? and what are their priorities for the rest of the year?
Within IDC’s 2013 Marketing Barometer survey we received answers from marketing leaders within cloud organizations. In this presentation you will see the high level findings comparing these cloud marketing departments to more traditional 2nd platform companies.
I would love to hear your thoughts on these initial findings and how your marketing organization is working to compete in this fast growing market (whether as a pure play or just one of many product lines).  
For an extended deck with further analysis please contact me directly at smelnick (at) idc (dot) com or reach out to me on twitter: @SamMelnick

Why Participate in IDC’s Marketing Barometer Survey

The CMO Advisory Service at IDC is conducting its annual barometer survey. This is the 10th year of the survey.  All respondents will receive a free copy of the report produced from the results of the survey and an invitation to IDC’s exclusive Client Telebriefing.

During The CMO Advisory’s 2012 Marketing Benchmarks survey we collected data from ~100 of the largest and most influential tech companies, their combined revenue totaled nearly $750 Billion.  The barometer survey provides a “finger in the wind” follow up to the Benchmark Survey providing detailed guidance to senior marketers. Areas of focus include: budget ratios, program spend, headcount allocation, and in-depth insights into key trends in the industry and forward looking roles and programs.   
If you are interested in participating: contact Sam Melnick at smelnick (at) idc (dot) com
Below are some answers to questions you might have:

Q: A free report and webinar, cool! Wait what type of information will they contain?
A: The results of the survey will be used to analyze the direction of marketing resource expenditures and priorities during the next 6-12 months. So questions like the following will be answered:
  • How aggressively are marketing budgets increasing or decreasing in my sector this year?
  • What marketing staff positions or programs should I look to invest in?
  • What up and coming areas should I be looking into this year to create a world class marketing organization?
  •  What are next week’s Powerball numbers? (Ok we won’t answer that question, if we knew we probably wouldn’t tell you…sorry).
Q: Who should take the survey?
A: Marketing executives who are in a position of responsibility for worldwide marketing practices.
Q: How long will it take?
A: Depending on several factors, as quick as 15 minutes!
Q: I can’t get this done today, when do you need to have it completed by?
A:  To receive the report and an invitation to IDC’s exclusive Client Telebriefing participants need to complete the survey by Wed Feb 13, 2013. Also, all of the information must be accurately provided in order to be included in the study and receive the free deliverables.
If you are interested in participating: contact Sam Melnick at smelnick (at) idc (dot) com

Q: I can’t answer this question, I need input from my colleagues…help?
A: No worries, if you leave the webpage it will save your progress.
Q: What types of companies participate in this survey?
A: Some of the largest tech and tech related companies in the world participate (again total revenue of participants reaches upwards of $1 Trillion), but plenty of companies who may not have as many 0’s in their revenue line, but are growing quickly and have exciting products, do participate and receive great value from the deliverables!
Q: Some of this information is kind of confidential, I want to trust you, but can I?
A: As stated above, the CMO Advisory Service has been doing surveys like this for 10+ years. All answers will be kept confidential by IDC and all data will be aggregated for the purposes of trend analysis.  No client or other participant of the study will ever receive your company-specific data and there is no way that any company can “reverse-engineer” the analysis to derive your data input. Your responses will not be used for any other purpose within IDC.
Q:  Ok I completed the survey…so… when do I get the free research?
A: Heh, I knew you’d ask this one. You can expect the deliverables to begin coming out around late March. For clients who are attending our March Board Meeting we will have in depth discussion around the barometer findings (want to know more about these board meetings? Reach out to the CMO Advisory Group team or send me an email).

If you are interested in participating: contact Sam Melnick at smelnick (at) idc (dot) com

2012 Tech Marketing Budgets, Trends

We are now publishing the results of our major annual Tech Marketing Benchmarks survey. Our tenth year of doing so!

My thoughts today:

1) Most importantly: The Marketing Transformation effort is accelerating. Many vendors have been at this for a few years but as we now do some accounting for  results,  we see as many false-starts as we do successes. And so there are renewed and bigger efforts underway to Transform.  The best evidence of this is in recent, aggressive marketing budget overhauls and  larger, more sweeping re-organizations of the marketing function. 

The good news is that top marketing  execs and C-Level execs DO understand that “future” Marketing can and should be the game-changer function, and so they are going to keep at the Transformation efforts until they see results. 

Here are three major outcomes to watch for and benchmark, on your own Transformation journey: Shorter purchase cycles; reduced overall cost of (combined) Marketing + Sales; and vastly improved customer analytics as a result of integrated marketing plus sales automation efforts.

2) Budgets remain under pressure: we see the average large Tech Vendor getting a 1.7% budget increase this year. That is 1/2 the increase of last year…and we were even “closer” to the 2008-2009 recession at that point.  The main culprit is the economy: management teams not willing to spend until better signs of demand pick up. The second factor is media shift: going-to-market with digital ve traditional media.

3) Tech vendors still spend 3-5 times as much on selling as they do on marketing. Heavy salesmanship has deep deep roots in IT vending. My belief is that the future holds a more even application of monies and activities between selling and marketing.

Rich Vancil