Email & social marketing 'main priorities' for 2012
Most business plan to increase or maintain marketing spend in 2012, with 60% increasing their email marketing budget and 55% increasing spending on social media marketing, according to the 2012 Marketing Trends survey from StrongMail.
The survey found that email marketing (60%) and social media (55%) were cited as the top two areas for increased marketing spend. At the same time, 51% of businesses said they planned to increase their overall marketing budgets, and 41% planned to maintain existing budgets. Other areas of increased spending included mobile marketing and internet search (both 37%).
Direct mail (28%) and trade shows (23%) were cited as the top targets for decreased spending. Encouragingly, however, only 8% planned to decrease their overall marketing budget, which is only a slight increase over the 7% reported one year previously.
The top email marketing initiatives for 2012 were increasing subscriber engagement (48%), improving segmentation and targeting (44%) and growing opt-in email lists (32%). Data integration is key to achieving these top priorities, but it was also identified as the primary email marketing challenge (45%), followed by lack of resources (43%) and content management (40%). These opposing findings suggest an opportunity for email service providers to fill the gap with relevant services.
More than two-thirds of businesses (67%) said they plan to integrate social media and email, compared to only 44% integrating mobile and email. The strong ties between email marketing and social media were also emphasised by the 47% of businesses that plan to increase investment in using email to drive growth in their social media channels, such as corporate Facebook and Twitter pages.
The next most popular areas of investment were batch promotional programmes (44%) and newsletters (39%), followed by real-time lifecycle marketing programmes (35%), with an emphasis on customer winback programmes (68%) and welcome programmes (59%).
More than one-third of businesses said they plan to increase their investment in mobile marketing programmes, such as mobile apps (29%) and SMS alerts (20%), but there was a marked lack of consensus about the primary value of this emerging channel. Building customer and loyalty (35%) was identified as the top benefit, followed by expanded reach (29%) and awareness building (28%). However, this was offset by a similar percentage still trying to evaluate it (24%) and a smaller percentage finding no value at all (7%).
"While email marketing leads the pack in terms of increased of investment, the survey also suggests that marketers need to overcome the twin challenges of data integration and resource constraints," concluded Christopher Marriott, vice president of agency services for StrongMail. "Whether managing and optimising existing email marketing programmes or enabling integration with social media and mobile, there is a real opportunity for full-service email marketing providers to help brands get the most out of their interactive marketing investments."