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strongmail-2010-marketing-spending-planned-increase-by-channel-dec11.gifEmail marketing (60%) is the program most cited by business leaders for a 2012 increase in spend, according to [pdf] a December 2011 study conducted by StrongMail in conjunction with Zoomerang. Data from the “2012 Marketing Trends Survey” indicates that more respondents plan to increase their social media budgets (55%) than their mobile or search (SEO/PPC) spend (both at 37%). By contrast, few executives expect to increase their spend on direct mail (18%), tradeshows & events (18%), or public relations (16%).

Overall, 51% of respondents plan to increase their marketing budget in 2012, compared to just 8% who expect a decrease.

Subscriber Engagement Most Important

Increasing subscriber engagement (48%), improving segmentation and targeting (44%), and growing opt-in email lists (32%) are the most important email marketing initiatives among respondents (three responses allowed), yet these priorities rest on data integration, which is also cited as the primary challenge in 2012 (45%), ahead of lack of resources (43%) and content management (40%).

Meanwhile, integrating social media and email marketing (24%) is a more important initiative to a larger proportion of executives than integrating mobile and email marketing (13%). Indeed, when asked what channels they are planning to integrate email with in 2012, two-thirds cited social media marketing, beating out mobile (44%), search (17%), and display (14%).

2 in 3 See Customer Loyalty Benefits

strongmail-email-marketing-value.jpg67% of respondents (multiple responses allowed) see building customer loyalty and retention to be the primary value of email marketing as a marketing channel, followed by awareness building (51%) and driving revenue (44%). The top 3 perceived values of social media marketing are awareness building (64%), building customer loyalty and retention (48%), and expanded reach to new audiences (44%). According to a study released in December 2011 by the CMO Council in partnership with Lithium, senior marketers cite improved customer listening, engagement, and conversations, as well as the opening of new avenues to gather and further market insights (both at 55%), as the top ways that social media has impacted their marketing operations.

StrongMail’s survey respondents appear less convinced about the primary values of mobile marketing: just 35% cited building customer loyalty and retention, the leading benefit, while less than one-third perceived other values, including expanded reach to new audiences (29%), awareness building (28%), and driving revenue (26%). In fact, almost one-quarter of the executives say they are unsure of the primary value of mobile marketing.

Targeting Most Important Tactic for Holidays

41% of executives cite segmentation and targeting as a top 3 email marketing tactic they are using to generate more business during the 2011 holiday season, ahead of increased volume (30%) and aggressive discounting (24%). The most popular email marketing programs for the season are integrated cross/upsell offers (37%), promotions of in-store sales events (34%), and post-purchase programs (31%).

About the Data: The StrongMail survey was conducted online by Zoomerang from November 16-29, 2011, and gathered feedback from 939 business leaders across a range of industries and organizational roles.

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