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A recent B2B International survey* of large businesses serving B2B markets has found optimism among marketers across the US and Europe, many of whom are focusing on brand as a growth driver.

Increasing investment in marketing reflects optimism

The outlook is positive: 57% of survey respondents anticipate marketing budget increases this year, compared with 38% last year who said they were expecting an increase.

Although that optimism is industrywide (no more than 13% expect a decrease in budgets, regardless of the industry group), those in trades and services (e.g., retail, hospitality, transportation, and energy) are more optimistic about their marketing budgets than those in knowledge-based sectors (e.g., IT/technology, financial services, healthcare, and education).

Market research budgets are also set to increase: 49% of respondents anticipate an increase over the next 12 months, versus only 13% expecting a decrease and 38% envisioning no change. That pattern is the same for the US and Europe.

Branding is the top strategy for growth, but most marketers acknowledge brand deficiencies

The most widely deployed marketing strategy is branding: 60% of respondents say they are focusing on initiatives to grow their brands. However, although the importance of branding is recognized, many marketers are facing challenges in building their brands:

  • Only 41% of respondents say their organization has a strong USP (unique selling proposition).

  • Only 43% perform well in assessing their brand health at regular intervals (e.g., measuring awareness, brand perceptions, brand performance).

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image of Julia Doheny (Cupman)

Julia Doheny (Cupman) is president of North America research at global business-to-business market research agency B2B International (a gyro: company), which serves a wide range of sectors. Reach her via +1-914-761-1909 or email: julia.doheny@b2binternational.com.

LinkedIn: Julia Doheny (Cupman)