StrongMail recently surveyed more than 1,000 business leaders to feel the pulse of how marketing budgets will shift next year.
Most respondents expect their overall marketing budgets to increase or remain steady in 2013, with email marketing, social media, mobile and search programs set to receive most of the increased spending.
Email marketing budgets and spending
According to StrongMail, 45.2 percent of respondents said they expect their marketing budgets to increase in 2013, while 43.9 percent said they expect their budgets to remain at current levels and 10.9 percent said they expect their budgets to decrease.
When asked to identify the programs that would receive increases in spending next year, 55.5 percent pointed to email marketing, 51.8 percent said social media, 42.8 percent said mobile and 39.8 percent said search (SEO/PPC).
StrongMail found that when asked about which specific email marketing programs would receive boosts in spending, 46.2 percent of respondents said email marketing programs aimed at growing social media channels, followed by 38.8 percent who said promotional (batch) emails, 36.6 percent who said lifecycle program emails and 34.7 percent who said newsletter (batch) emails.
Delving deeper into lifecycle email marketing programs, StrongMail found that 63.3 percent of marketers who indicated they will increases spending on these programs said they would boost spend specifically for win-back/re-engagement programs, followed by 59.8 percent who said they would increase spending on welcoming programs.
Social media marketing
StrongMail’s survey also highlighted social media marketing campaigns. It found that 39.6 percent of respondents said they will increase spend on Facebook marketing programs. This was followed by 26.5 percent who said the same about social media management/technology, 23.6 percent who said they will increase spend on viral/referral marketing campaigns, 23.3 percent who said they will increase spend on Twitter marketing campaigns and 18.0 percent who said they will boost spend on appending social data to their customer database.
Pinterest, which has been exploding in popularity among marketers and has taken steps to be more business-friendly, is lagging behind the more popular Facebook and Twitter when it comes to spending on social media marketing programs. Just 14.9 percent of marketers said they will boost spend on marketing programs on Pinterest next year.
When it comes to mobile programs, 39.1 percent of respondents said they will increase spend on building mobile apps, while 33.0 percent said they will boost spend on mobile advertising and 21.3 percent said they will increase spend on sending SMS alerts. Meanwhile, 16.3 percent of respondents said they plan to increase spending on location-based marketing.
The losers in 2013
According to StrongMail, 37.4 percent of responding companies said they plan to rein back spending on direct-mail programs, while 33.6 percent said they have the same plan for tradeshows and events, and 23.0 percent said the same about advertising.
Email marketing objectives and challenges in 2013
Nearly half of respondents said the most important email marketing initiative in 2013 will be increasing subscriber engagement, while 48.1 percent said the same of improving segmentation and targeting.
Integration with customer data was cited as the biggest email marketing challenge next year by 45.6 percent of respondents, followed by 39.5 percent who pointed to lack of resources and staff, 35.7 percent who pointed to integration with other marketing channels, and 34.2 percent who pointed to content management.
Sixty-five percent of respondents said they plan to integrate social media marketing with email next year, while 51.9 percent said they will integrate mobile with their email efforts.
The primary value of email, social media and mobile
To those who wonder whether email marketing, social media and mobile can complement each other, the answer seems to be yes, for the most part.
According to StrongMail, 69.4 percent of respondents said the primary value of email marketing is building customer loyalty and retention, followed by 50.1 percent who said building awareness, 45.0 percent who said driving revenue, 40.4 percent who said acquiring new customers, 28.9 percent who said B2B lead generation, and 25.6 percent who said expanding reach to new customers.
Compare this with the responses about social media’s primary value: 65.2 percent who said building awareness, 49.9 percent who said building customer loyalty and retention, 46.2 percent who said expanding reach to new customers, 36.1 percent who said acquiring new customers, 18.6 percent who said B2B lead generation, and 12.1 percent who said driving revenue.
Regarding mobile, 44.4 percent of respondents said building customer loyalty and retention is the channel’s primary value, followed by 34.4 percent who said expanding reach to new audiences, 33.1 percent who said building awareness, 28.9 percent who said driving revenue, 26.9 percent who said acquiring new customers, and 13.3 percent who said B2B lead generation.
StrongMail’s findings appear to highlight opportunities for melding email, mobile and social campaigns together to achieve singular goals.
By Jason Hahn