As B2B tech firms feel the economic sting in 2023, marketers face high pressure—and high expectations

by | Dec 7, 2023 | Marketing, Public Relations

B2B tech companies struggled under the weight of the economic downturn in 2023, new research from integrated comms agency 10Fold reveals—79 percent of the more than 450 marketing decision-makers in B2B tech companies who responded to a survey said they experienced a moderate to severe impact to their revenue as a result of economic circumstances this year. Furthermore, the severity of this impact appeared to correlate with the size of the company—only 33 percent of respondents from smaller organizations reported they were impacted, compared to 52 percent of respondents from larger companies. 

The agency’s new report, Marketing in the Face of Uncertainty: Practical Budget Strategies for B2B Tech Companies in 2024, with survey partner Sapio Research, affirms that 2023 was a tumultuous year, marked by a staggering 190 percent increase in inflation since 2020, and companies struggled to weather the challenges of buyers stagnated by increasing interest rates and economic uncertainty. 

As B2B tech firms feel the economic sting in 2023, marketers face high pressure—and high expectations

To understand how B2B tech marketing leaders responded to the circumstances in 2023 and their plans for 2024, 10Fold commissioned the research, which highlights shifting digital marketing investment strategies and funding expectations that will help these companies navigate safely past the economic downturn of the past year. 

Key findings:

  • 75 percent of organizations received external funding in 2023, and 78 percent anticipate receiving external funding in 2024. 
  • Tangentially, 81 percent plan to increase their marketing budgets for 2024. 
  • 55 percent of businesses are adopting more ambitious key performance indicators (KPIs) to accompany increased budgets. 

Growing marketing budgets and dynamic shifts in lead generation channels unveiled

Despite economic uncertainty, more than half (55 percent) of businesses increased their marketing budgets in 2023. Even more respondents (73 percent) are planning to increase their marketing budgets in 2024. Of the companies that already increased their budgets in 2023, a vast majority (92 percent) are planning additional increases in marketing spending in 2024.

As B2B tech firms feel the economic sting in 2023, marketers face high pressure—and high expectations

“For most B2B technology businesses, 2023 didn’t go as expected, and although many had the benefit of more budget and additional resources, marketing leaders were required to dynamically adapt to a much tougher business climate and even higher KPIs,” said Susan Thomas, CEO of 10Fold Communications, in a news release. “The fact that so many companies met their goals is a testament to the ingenuity, creativity and determination that is embedded deeply within the fabric of the technology industry. As we look ahead to 2024, those same qualities will be required, and it’s not a surprise that those same respondents reported being equally prepared for what lies ahead with marketing plans to meet their goals.” 

The 2024 marketing planning includes shifts in what the respondents planned to invest in for their preferred lead generation channels: 

As B2B tech firms feel the economic sting in 2023, marketers face high pressure—and high expectations

Redefining success through ambitious KPIs and adaptive staffing dynamics

  • With increased budgets come new, higher expectations: 55 percent of businesses reported adopting more ambitious KPIs in 2023, far surpassing the 21 percent that reported their KPIs remained unchanged and the 19 percent that reported they were able to target more conservative KPIs. 
  • To meet the more aggressive expectations of 2023, many organizations added resources: 46 percent reported increasing internal staff in 2023, while 47 percent turned to outside contractors and 33 percent indicated they needed a mix of internal staff hires and outside contractors. Notably, 90 percent of companies that employed both internal hiring and external contractors reported greater ease in meeting their KPIs. 

As B2B tech firms feel the economic sting in 2023, marketers face high pressure—and high expectations

Download the full report here.

This survey was conducted by Sapio Research on behalf of 10Fold, sampling 451 respondents from Canada, France, Germany, the UK, and the US with decision-making authority for communication and marketing. Per Sapio Research, sample variance (or the extent to which these findings are representative of the total population) is within 4.6 percent (or a 95.4 percent chance the data would be replicated using a different total sample). 15 additional responses were collected from the 10Fold Marketing Team, resulting in a total sample size of 466.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter