Marketing Trends & Investment Priorities

Elizabeth Watson, director at the Alexander Group, shares highlights from a recent Alexander Group survey of manufacturing executives to understand the top Marketing trends and investment priorities.

The majority of the study participants plan to spend more in their marketing organization in 2023. Those resources are being allocated to four key focus areas discussed in this video.

The Alexander Group recently completed a survey of manufacturing marketing executives to understand the top trends and investment priorities. I’m Elizabeth Watson, a director in our marketing practice, and I’ll be walking through the highlights of that recent study.

First and foremost, organizations are investing. Over 90% of study participants plan to spend more in their marketing organization in 2023. Those additional resources are going to four key focus areas. Number one, reassessing integrity and actionability of their first-party data. Ensuring accurate data sets the foundation for all modern marketing initiatives. Marketers are increasingly coordinating with their partners to gain visibility into end users and using that information to feed things like advanced targeting and personalized messages. One of the top initiatives from the study was investing in organizing and structuring data in order to drive those decisions.

Building off actionable data, respondents highlighted the second key initiative, which is advancing targeting and segmentation practices. Organizations are shifting away from traditional two-dimensional segmentation. For example, industry and number of employees to much more targeted and specific definitions of segmentation. They’re creating ideal customer profiles and investing in third-party intent data to really understand their customers and pinpoint how and where they like to get information. And then creating a plan surrounding the growth of these targeted segments.

With that plan, we’re seeing this third initiative of a transition in marketing channel activities from outbound to inbound motions using valuable customer information to shift from things like general outbound email blasts to targeted posts to drive website traffic.

Finally, we’ve seen a shift in our most recent study on the last point regarding tools and technology. Organizations have moved away from investing in more tools to investing resources into driving adoption and integration of the tools that have already been purchased. Oftentimes, finding similar tools are sitting in different parts of the organization, and their number one goal is ensuring the full usage of all previous technology investments.

Those investments include things like data for segmentation and targeting. Over 80% of leaders surveyed were doubling down on organization definitions of segmentation. Almost 100% of participants were using current customer and product records, while over half were investing in additional information like customer survey and focus groups, firmographic data and third-party intent data.

Marketers are using this additional information to also drive channel investments. One interesting aspect, as it relates to the manufacturing, study is participants reported investing across all channels with minimal discernible ROI. The top, most popular investments, though, were digital inbound channels like digital ads, their website and social media.

Some of the most impactful investments reported were social media marketing, search engine optimization, webinars and podcasts.

As marketers shift to digital channels, they need team members with the right expertise to also drive that change. Roles like e-commerce manager, digital marketing manager and content development manager are all top investment areas for the upcoming year.

As respondents shift to a more modern marketing organization, top inhibitors and questions arose. Things like how do we measure the true ROI of our marketing investment? How should we bridge the gap between sales and marketing to develop a true partnership? How should we align all stakeholders on the focus buyer personas? How do we ensure our technology investments are implemented and adopted throughout the organization? How do we implement a more structured data feedback loop to keep personalized messaging relevant and impactful? And finally, how do we organize to ensure optimal execution between our central and our business unit marketing functions?

As you begin to prepare to become a modern marketing engine, Alexander Group can partner to ensure optimal design and execution. For more information, visit our website at

Learn more about the Alexander Group’s Manufacturing practice

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