With the new year underway, we wanted to share some of the stats we gathered from our State of Customer Marketing Report for 2023/24

In this article, we’re showing off some of the statistics we gathered concerning customer marketing budgets, and how these budgets are being shared. 

Take this years Customer Marketing Salary and Industry Master Survey and offer your insights now!

The annual customer marketing budget

We’ve already spoken a little about the potential impact of the economic hardships many have been experiencing this year, but we wanted to explore if this has impacted budgets for these programs.

It’s promising to see that the most common answer hasn’t changed a year on. However, while the $100,000-$500,000 range remains the top choice at 21.7%, this is a dip from the 30.7% last year. The next most popular choice, however, changed from the $10,000-25,000 range at 15.4% to $50,000-99,999 at 14.5% this year.

Range for customer marketing budget

It’s interesting to note that the number of participants who said that they don’t have a budget increased this year from 11.5% to 14.5%, and they came from companies of all sizes.

Speaking of company size, last year we found no correlation between the size of a company and the budget available to them. However, this year we found that the range of budget available increased with each growth stage, with Enterprise companies having an average range of 25,000 - 1,000,000+ available to them.

This year we’re seeing the start of the formalization of these kinds of teams and positions regarding both budget and responsibilities, but we’ve still got a ways to go in cementing each facet of this kind of role.

This year we also asked what percentage of their customer marketing budget made up the overall marketing budget for their company.

Percentage of overall marketing budget

Interestingly 61.4% said their budget made up less than 10% of the total marketing budget for their company. Another 29.8% said their budget made up 11-20%.

This is a curiously small percentage. Perhaps this is due to the more holistic nature of customer marketing roles - lots of customer marketing responsibilities can still be successful with small budgets and resources, making customer marketing attainable for smaller companies to implement.

It could also be that, as customer marketing is often housed under other types of marketing, it's expected to piggyback on other forms of marketing and gather resources using a part of other department's budgets.

Customer marketers aren’t usually investing in creating involved commercials and long advertising campaigns in the same way as more traditional marketing positions are. On the other hand, it’s well known now that retaining existing customers is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones.

We asked Ari Hoffman his thoughts on why this curiously small percentage:

“Unfortunately, this stat is also mirrored in headcount and organizational demand across Customer Marketing and Advocacy. This is one of the reasons why companies are struggling with growth today. They are prioritizing demand-gen through ad-focused campaigns as it’s a faucet they feel more control over — turning it on and off in times of need. 
The issue with this approach is it has diminishing rates of return as the industry becomes more and more saturated with ad content and buyers turn their attention elsewhere. Fortunately, there are many examples of companies showing us what good looks like. We are seeing those truly customer-centric organizations continue to grow, even during the tech recession we find ourselves in. 
These companies are actually doubling down on headcount and customer marketing budgets. Companies like F5, led by Kevin Lau, or BMC, headed by Leslie Paterson, are prime examples of how a heightened focus on customer-first marketing priorities can drive accelerated growth.”

Where is the customer marketing budget being spent?

Breaking down the above budgets, we wanted to see where customer marketing and advocacy experts choose to spend it.

This year saw software and tools take the top spot again at 29.5%, a 6.6% increase from last year. The next most common answer changed from video creation/editing to conferences at 20.5%, with video creation/editing dropping to third this year at 12.5% (a drop of 7.5%).

How customer marketing budgets are spent

Note: Those that selected ‘Other’ said the majority of their budget is spent on things like swag, gifting, non-conference events, Customer Advisory Boards, travel, and professional services and contractors.

When noting that software and tools made up 29.5% of answers, its important to note how certain software helps customer marketers accomplish some of the other line items mentioned in this question.

For example, software used to help aid testimonial collection and/or run third-party review campaigns will help support things like written content, advertising, and customer research. Things like feedback surveys and video capture are invaluable tools to support other areas of responsibility.

Looking at these changes, it seems that the budget spent on video creation has shifted to in-person events. This could perhaps be a remnant of pandemic life, as we continue to shift back to more in-person events every single year.

In-person conferences and other events are invaluable for connecting with your customers, especially since so many customer marketers get very little in the way of day-to-day interaction that isn’t virtual.

Seeing more of a priority in creating such events is nothing but promising.

Provide your own stats

Our 2024 Customer Marketing Salary and Industry Master Report is out now! This year, we’re shaking things up and combining the surveys for our State of Customer Marketing and Customer Marketing Salary Reports. 

For one seven-minute survey, you’ll get two unmissable reports about your industry - what's there to lose? 🥳