Most business-to-business companies lack a formal marketing plan, reports B2B marketing agency Sagefrog Marketing Group in its 2018 B2B Marketing Mix Report. In a survey of business-to-business marketing professionals in the healthcare, technology and business services industries, the agency found that 61 percent had no strategic marketing plan in place.

“Marketers tasked with building B2B brands—especially small businesses—can’t afford to ‘wing it’ in 2018,” says Mark Schmukler, co-founder and CEO at Sagefrog. “Having a documented marketing plan, complete with market research, is the foundation for success because it carves out your market opportunity to direct your marketing to the white space.”

Sagefrog found that most B2B companies (63 percent) outsource some or all of their marketing, and about one fifth pass the full management of their marketing to an agency. Compared to data gathered in the 2017 B2B Marketing Mix Report, the percentage of companies that outsource has grown year over year. Retainer agreements are popular methods for structuring companies’ relationships with their agencies, with 54 percent opting for them. The survey found that 20 percent of respondents outsource their marketing through both retainers and project contracts.

For most of those surveyed (59 percent), spending on marketing has grown over the past year. Only four percent report a decrease. Breaking down how much of their company’s budget is allocated to marketing, 39 percent of respondents said five percent, 21 percent said 10 percent, 16 percent said one percent, 10 percent said 15 percent and 12 percent said less than one percent.

Website development is proving to be the most popular place to put that money, with 63 percent listing it as a top area of marketing spending. In Sagefrog’s survey, website development is followed by trade shows and events (53 percent), digital marketing (47 percent), social media (29 percent), direct marketing and print advertising (25 percent), marketing collateral (25 percent), marketing automation and analytics (22 percent), marketing planning & brand strategy (18 percent) and public relations (14 percent).

Increasing leads for sales teams are marketers’ highest priority in the 2018 survey, with 67 percent listing it as where they place the greatest importance. Other significant goals include converting leads into customers (47 percent), brand awareness (37 percent) and web traffic (35 percent).