Online Channels – Led by Email – to Capture More Marketing Dollars Next Year

December 13, 2012

45% of business leaders expect to increase their marketing budgets in 2013, according to [pdf] survey results from StrongMail. Email marketing and social media are top of the spending agenda, with a majority 55.5% and 51.8% of those respondents expecting to increase spending on those channels, respectively. Not far behind, roughly 4 in 10 plan to spend more on mobile (42.8%) and search (SEO/PPC – 39.8%), while traditional channels such as direct mail (15.4%) and PR (13.9%) sit at the bottom of the list.

Social and mobile are set for budget increases for their marketing potential, but a recent IBM tech trends report [pdf] shows they are squarely in the sights of professionals around the world for their strategic capabilities too. Among the more than 1,200 IT and business decision-makers interviewed across 13 markets, 69% plan to increase their investment in mobile technology over the next 2 years (34% by 1-9%, and 35% by 10% or more), while 43% will grow their social business investments (27% by 1-9%, and 16% by 10% or more).

Email and Social Integration A Popular Goal

While email was the leading channel among the StrongMail survey respondents for increased budgets, social media still manages to make an appearance in email budgets. That is, when asked for which email marketing programs they plan to increase spend, 46.2% cited social media channel growth, ahead of promotional (batch – 38.8%), lifecycle programs (36.6%), and newsletter (batch – 34.7%).

Social media also counts as the top channel respondents are planning to integrate email with next year, with mobile closely following. That won’t necessarily be easy, though. Integration with other marketing channels was the third most-cited email marketing challenge heading into 2013, behind only integration with customer data and a lack of resources and staff.

Email and Mobile Valued for Loyalty; Social for Awareness

Further details from StrongMail’s “2013 Marketing Trends Survey” indicate that most respondents perceive the primary value of email as a marketing channel to be its ability to build customer loyalty and retention (69.4%). Awareness building (50.1%) is next, followed by driving revenue (45%).

Interestingly, the ability to build customer loyalty and retention topped the list of perceived values for mobile as a marketing channel. That’s somewhat surprising given recent research findings that marketers are using mobile more for messaging purposes than for its relationship potential.

Less surprising is that social media is seen by most respondents as benefiting them through awareness building, with customer loyalty and expanded reach the next-most common perceived values.

Other Findings:

  • The mobile programs most often cited for increased spending were building an application (39.1%), mobile advertising (33%), and sending SMS alerts (21.3%).
  • Direct mail (37.4%) topped the list of programs for which respondents plan to decrease spend, closely followed by trade shows and events (33.6%).
  • The most important email marketing initiatives for 2013 are increasing subscriber engagement (49.7%) and improving segmentation and targeting (48.1%).
  • The social media channels ranked most highly for their value were Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+, in descending order.

About the Data: The StrongMail “2013 Marketing Trends Survey” was administered online in conjunction with SurveyMonkey. The poll, which gathered feedback from 1,002 business leaders across a wide range of industries, was conducted from November 14 ”“ 28, 2012. The majority of respondents (78.9%) are from companies headquartered in North America. More than one-third are from companies with more than 500 employees. 37.5% are primarily focused on the B2C market; 34.9% on the B2B market; and 27.7% on both.

The IBM 2012 Tech Trends Report is based on a survey of more than 1,200 professionals who make technology decisions for their organizations (22% IT managers, 53% IT practitioners and 25% business professionals). Respondents come from 16 different industries and 13 countries, spanning both mature and growth markets. To better understand how technology trends are impacting future IT professionals, IBM also surveyed more than 250 academics and 450 students across these same countries.

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