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forbes-top-mktg-priority-june-2011.JPGSlightly more than half (52%) of US and UK marketing executives say one of their company’s top marketing priorities is customer retention, according to [download page] a survey from Forbes Insights and Coremetrics. Other popular responses include customer acquisition (38%), customer profitability (29%) and branding (28%).

New Media Shows Most Future Growth as Priority

The top four marketing priorities of 2011 are all expected to remain the top priorities of 2012. However, the only priorities that show significant growth from the percentage of executives calling it a top priority today and a top priority in 12 months are new media marketing channels.

For example, online marketing jumps 28% from a top priority of 18% of companies to a top priority of 23% of companies. Similarly, social media strategy and tactics climb 73% (11% to 19%), and mobile marketing grows 54% (11% to 17%).

Meanwhile, despite remaining tied for the top priority in one year, 21% fewer marketing executives say customer retention will be a top marketing priority in 2012 (41%) as do this year.

Budgets Mostly Match Priorities

forbes-budget-priorities-june-2011.JPGFor the most part, marketing budgets mirror these priorities. About four in 10 executives (39%) are dedicating the largest chunk of their funds to customer retention; customer acquisition runs a close second (36%). Yet maximizing customer profitability, a crucial priority, does not appear to be a key budget item, as just 19% said it was a top area of spending.

Retention, Acquisition, New Media Spending to Grow for Many

forbes-spending-june-2011.JPGLooking ahead to next year, dedication to retention and acquisition will remain strong, as more than half of respondents said they intend to increase their spending on customer acquisition, customer retention, and customer profitability.

Online tactics will also see significant lifts in budgets, as 56% will increase their online marketing spending, 54% will increase their social media spending, and 50% will increase their mobile marketing spending.

Most Execs See Increasing Pressure to Deliver

forbes-pressure-june-2011.JPGA majority of executives see more pressure to deliver today than previously. For example, a combined 78% either strongly agree (29%) or agree (49%) there is greater scrutiny of what is and isn’t working than there was a year ago.

And many executives see this pressure occurring in a more difficult online marketing environment. A smaller but still substantial combined 64% either strongly agree (18%) or agree (46%) it’s harder than ever to cut through the noise online to get marketing and advertising noticed.

Prophet: Innovation, New Media Seen as Key Skills

Executives are most likely to see more innovative approaches to targeting/marketing and capabilities in new media are the abilities their marketing organizations need to demonstrate during the next two to three years to build successful brands, according to a study from strategic brand and marketing consultancy Prophet. The “2011 State of Marketing Study” shows that 84% cited more innovative approaches and 68% said new media capabilities (more than one answer permitted).

The other capabilities cited by more than 50% of executive respondents were the ability to approach marketing from a P&L mindset (57%) and general problem-solving skills (52%).

About the Data: Forbes Insights, in association with Coremetrics, an IBM company, surveyed 321 marketing executives at companies with more than $250 million in annual revenue in the US and the UK. More than three quarters of the companies (77%) had annual revenues of $1 billion or greater, and the remaining 23% had revenues of at least $250 million. More than a quarter of respondents held C-level titles, including CEO (15%) or CMO (11%), and the rest had senior titles including senior vice president, vice president, director of marketing, and marketing manager.

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