By Max Clarke
A leading provider of marketing solutions for email and social media today announced the results of its “2011 Marketing Trends” survey, which provides unique insight into how businesses plan to budget and prioritise marketing spend in the New Year.
The survey of 925 business leaders was conducted in November 2010 by social media & email marketing experts StrongMail.
They found that half of businesses questioned planned to increase their marketing budgets in 2011, and another 43% plan to maintain current levels. Only 7% of respondents plan to decrease marketing budgets, a significant improvement over the 11% reported in last year's survey.
Despite budget increases, respondents indicated a lack of resources/staff to be the biggest email marketing challenge in 2011, representing a potential demand for outsourced marketing services. Integration with customer data and email deliverability rounded out the top three email marketing challenges for 2011.
Email and Social Media Lead the Pack; Direct Mail and Tradeshows Face Cuts
Email marketing (65%) and social media (57%) will be the top areas of investment in 2011, followed by Search (41%). Direct Mail (36%) and Tradeshows/Events (33%) are the top targets for decreased spend; however, this is a marked improvement over last year's survey, which found marketers reducing spend in these areas by 42% and 44% respectively.
Engagement and Segmentation Are Top Priorities; Facebook is King.
The most important email marketing initiatives for 2011 are increasing subscriber engagement (52%), improving segmentation and targeting (49%), and integrating social media and email marketing (43%). On the latter point, a full 71% have already integrated email and social, or plan to in 2011.
Among social media initiatives, Facebook is the biggest priority (35%), followed by viral/referral marketing programs (22%). Marketing via Twitter and implementing social media management technology tied for third place (21%). Awareness building (63%) is the primary goal for social media marketing initiatives, followed by loyalty acquisition (54%) and reaching new audiences (42%). As is the case with any new channel, social media marketing is seen as least effective at generating leads and revenue.
"As marketers head into 2011, they are focused on increasing subscriber engagement through increased relevancy and automating lifecycle communications," said Ryan Deutsch, vice president of strategic services at StrongMail. "While it's clear that marketers are struggling with insufficient resources, this is a challenge that can be easily overcome with the right marketing partner. Our own experience helping clients improve their marketing programs corroborates this finding, as we're seeing a steady increase in demand for our strategic services."
· 93% of businesses plan to increase or maintain marketing spend in 2011
· 41% of business cite lack of resources/staff as primary email marketing challenge in 2011; 41% data integration; 36% email deliverability
· 52% of businesses cite increasing subscriber engagement as top 2011 email marketing initiative; 49% improving segmentation/targeting; 43% integrating email and social media
· 65% of businesses plan to increase marketing budget for email; 57% social media; 41% search
· 71% of businesses plan to integrate email and social media in 2011