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Budget Constraints: How Marketing Teams Can Win With Limited Resources

Findings from our annual supply chain marketing industry survey reveal rising investment levels along with the persistence of some long-standing pain points.

Our annual survey sheds light on an eternal question for our industry: Am I properly staffed and funded to meet growth goals? Reviewing the data on budgets and team sizes reveals some interesting implications.

Budget and Staffing Realities

The data shows a clear correlation between marketing budget size and total company revenue – no shockers there. Firms earning under $500K predominantly have solo marketing staff, while less than half of mid-market companies ($1M-$10M revenue) exceed three marketing employees. Predictably, enterprise players prioritize marketing more, with over 20% investing $1M+ annually.


Overlaying company-wide employees tells a similar story: small supply chain companies stay lean at 1 staffer despite having a 7-figure topline; 50+ worker companies begin initial bumps to 2-3; then 100-250 employee corporations cement as the “go big” moment. This mid-market segment represents the inflection point, with growth prioritization likely taking root.

Implications for Resource-Constrained Teams​

Survey results show that smaller supply chain outfits chronically underinvest in marketing. With the majority well under $500K and almost 32% lacking any formal budget, smaller supply chain companies hit well below The CMO Survey’s reported 7-8% revenue benchmark for B2B marketing spend. 


The reality is that resourcing often aligns more with leadership priorities and beliefs around marketing than abstract size metrics. Meager marketing budgets limit the potential impact that a one-person marketing team can achieve, especially given that marketing often assumes other related activities – internal communications, event planning, employee engagement, etc. 


So what strategies can resource-constrained, results-driven supply chain marketing leaders employ to make an impact under these conditions?

Proving Value to Earn Greater Investment

First and foremost, we must get better at showing marketing’s revenue impact through hard data. Encouragingly, our survey finds a threefold increase in supply chain marketers able to strongly prove their influence on revenue – up to 19% from just 6% year-over-year.


Your top priority as a marketer should be to set pipeline and revenue targets, then rigorously track lead quality KPIs. Document campaign influence at each buyer stage. And if your marketing automation allows for it, leverage multi-touch attribution to quantify marketing’s precise role alongside sales initiatives. When executives see how marketing spending drives growth, it becomes a strategic investment rather than a cost center.

Operationalizing Small Team Success

In addition, transparency and relentless prioritization are vital. Maintaining an open dialogue with executives to align on the highest marketing priorities is critical – especially when other duties outside the core function come up. When you’re aligned on the priorities, discussing trade-offs openly can prevent the unchecked sprawl of responsibilities that can easily overwhelm small teams. 


Another lever is getting supplemental leverage through outsourced strategy and execution. The right outsourced partner essentially operates as a supplemental marketing department, beyond what limited budgets can hire full-time (think: content writers, paid ads management, SEO upkeep). Specialized industry experience means less ramp up too – agencies can take you further, faster when they already speak your language.


In the end, while proper staffing and budgets ideally keep pace with growing business needs, that isn’t always the case – especially with the current supply chain landscape. But by mastering marketing measurement to justify investment, you’ll be in a great position to earn bigger budgets when the market returns to our favor. In the meantime, relentless prioritization is key.


Want to dig deeper into the benchmarks and trends shaping supply chain marketing? Our 2024 Supply Chain Marketing Industry Outlook and Trends Report unpacks the challenges, tactics, technology, and objectives your supply chain marketing peers are tackling over the next year. See how your team stacks up and equip yourself with an industry edge by downloading the report today. 

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