2014 Marketing Budget Plans, by Channel

StrongView-2014-Marketing-Spend-Plans-by-Program-Dec20139 in 10 “business leaders” plan to either increase (46%) or maintain (47%) their marketing budgets in 2014, according to [pdf] a recent survey from StrongView (formerly StrongMail). Respondents – from a mix of B2C and B2B companies primarily headquartered in North America – evaluated their spending plans across a variety of programs. The results reveal strong support for a variety of digital marketing channels, while traditional media budgets look like they’ll suffer. Topping the list in terms of planned spending increases was email marketing, with 52% of respondents planning to increase their investments. Just 2% plan to pull back on their email budgets. Close behind was social media (46% increasing versus 2% decreasing), with organic and paid search (41% increasing versus 4% decreasing) and online display (36% increasing versus 5% decreasing) also likely to see gains. Curiously, fewer (32%) are planning to hike their mobile marketing spend, despite recent projections suggesting healthy increases over the next few years.

The big losers in terms of planned spending appear to be traditional advertising channels, with print advertising (10% increasing versus 32% decreasing) and radio/TV advertising (9% increasing versus 17% decreasing) both having a larger percentage of respondents expecting to decrease than increase their budgets. While it’s not surprising to see print advertising among the losers, a recent MarketingCharts analysis suggests that TV ad spend should remain healthy, at least in the US.

Interestingly, trade shows and events appear to be making a bit of a comeback: while last year’s survey found more respondents expecting to decrease than increase their event budgets, this year’s results find the opposite to be true. That result follows from a series of studies released earlier this year (such as this one) indicating that marketers – from B2B companies in particular – are seeing strong ROI from their trade show budgets.

While this particular survey doesn’t segregate B2B and B2C marketers, the results indicate that the general budget shift towards online marketing at the expense of traditional media and marketing channels that was observed in much research over the past couple of years (a recent example here) will continue into 2014.

Delving further into spending plans for some marketing channels, the study finds that:

  • The top email marketing programs by planned budget hikes are social media channel growth (38%), triggered/transactional programs (38%) and lifecycle programs (34%);
  • Loyalty (57%), welcome (53%), and winback/re-engagement (50%) are the lifecycle email marketing programs that most plan to increase spending on; and
  • The mobile programs slated for budget increases by the largest share of respondents are building apps (20%) and SMS to email opt-in (16%).

About the Data: The StrongView “2014 Marketing Trends Survey” was administered online in conjunction with StrongView’s survey partner SENSORPRO. The poll, which gathered feedback from 387 business leaders across a wide range of industries, was conducted from November 18 – 27, 2013.