Marketing Technology Budgets Decline as Paid Media Investments Surge, Gartner Finds

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The 2024 CMO Spend Survey Reveals A Shift In Budget Allocation, With A Decrease In Marketing Technology Spending And An Increase In Paid Media

In the latest findings from Gartner’s 2024 CMO Spend Survey, marketing technology budgets have seen a decrease this year, capturing 23.8% of total marketing budgets, down from 25.4% in 2023. Conversely, investments in paid media have increased, rising from 25.6% of the budget in the previous year to 27.9% in 2024.

The survey indicates a notable shift in budget allocations within marketing departments, with reductions not only in technology but also in staff and agency spending. “The drop in martech investment doesn’t signal a dulled appetite for technology, rather it reflects CMOs’ diminishing influence over martech as other enterprise leaders, such as IT, take more control,” stated Ewan McIntyre, VP Analyst and the chief of research for the Gartner Marketing Practice, in a press release. He added that CMOs are now prioritizing media spend to fuel revenue growth.

Interestingly, Gartner points out that the advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) may allow for increased productivity despite the cutbacks in technology and labor budgets. “Reduced budgets are only a problem if marketing leaders are working with the same tools as before — that’s not the case now that CMOs have AI,” McIntyre explained. He suggests that generative AI (GenAI) is boosting productivity amidst these constrained resources.

Despite the decrease in overall technology budgets, digital marketing continues to dominate paid media spending, accounting for 57.1% of the budget this year, up from 54.9% in 2023. Key digital channels include search (13.6%), social advertising (12.2%), and digital display advertising (10.7%). On the offline front, event marketing (17.1%), sponsorship (16.4%), and TV (16%) remain the top spending categories.

The report also highlights a broader trend of shrinking marketing budgets, which now represent an average of 7.7% of overall company revenue, a decrease from 9.1% in 2023. Just four years ago, the average was 11%.

The survey, conducted between February and March 2024, gathered responses from 395 CMOs and marketing leaders across North America and Northern and Western Europe, spanning various industries and company sizes. The respondents predominantly come from organizations with a median annual revenue exceeding $5.3 billion.

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