Key marketing budget trends for 2011
Half of businesses plan to increase their marketing budgets in 2011, and another 43% plan to maintain current levels, while only 7% plan to decrease marketing budgets, according to the '2011 Marketing Trends' survey by StrongMail.
Conducted in November 2010 and examining the marketing budget plans of 925 global business leaders, the survey's respondents felt that "a lack of resources or staff" would be the biggest email marketing challenge for 2011, followed by "integration with customer data" and "email deliverability".
Email marketing (65%) and social media (57%) were reported to be the top areas of marketing investment for 2011, followed by online search (41%).
Direct mail (36%) and trade shows/events (33%) were the top targets for decreased spending, although this is still a marked improvement over the 2010 survey, which found marketers reducing spend in these areas by 42% and 44% respectively.
But the most important email marketing initiatives for 2011 were cited as:
- Increasing subscriber engagement (52%);
- Improving segmentation and targeting (49%);
- Integrating social media and email marketing (43%). Interestingly, 71% have already integrated email and social marketing, or had plans to do so during 2011.
Among social media initiatives, Facebook was named as the biggest priority (35%), followed by viral/referral marketing programmes (22%). Marketing via Twitter and implementing social media management technology tied for third place (21%).
Awareness building (63%) has become the primary goal for social media marketing initiatives, followed by loyalty member acquisition (54%) and reaching new audiences (42%).
As is the case with any new channel, social media marketing is currently seen as being the least effective at generating new leads and revenue.
"As marketers head into 2011, they are focused on increasing subscriber engagement through increased relevance and automating lifecycle communications," said Ryan Deutsch, vice president of strategic services for StrongMail.
The full details of the survey data have been made available for free download from StrongMail's web site - click here (1.48Mb PDF document; no registration needed).