Tech Guru's Forrester Research has just come out with technology spending forecasts' for 2009. It will probably come as no surprise that they are projecting a slowdown. They expect a reduction in overall spend of around 3%. Let's first put that number in perspective. In the Tech bust of 2001-2002 the comparable number was over twice that much. By that yardstick it doesn't seem quite so bad. It's no picnic to be sure, especially when last year saw an increase of 8% or so.

What should your response be? Consider this. Is it possible for you to get 3% more efficient in your marketing? This is not a trick question. I would hope the answer is a resounding yes. In our research we found that the marketing efficiencey of companies within the technology and professional services varied dramatically. Spending the same amount of money, some companies grew five to seven times faster than their less efficient competitors. That's a 500-700% difference in marketing efficiency! If that magnitude of difference exists in the marketplace, increasing efficiency by a few percentage points should not be an impossible mountain to climb.

Our report lays out a number of specific things that the high growth companies do differently. However, one in particular stands out as noteworthy: CEOs of average companies are focused on the economy and their competitors. By way of contrast, the CEOs of high growth firms are focused on marketing. That difference strikes me as meaningful.