Hoping For Social; Depending On Email

Social media is the second most popular marketing tactic on which business execs worldwide plan to increase spending in 2015, behind email, according to research by StrongView, in conjunction with SENSORPRO. The study found that 48.9% of respondents planned to up investments in the channel next year.

Though nearly nine in 10 US companies with at least 100 employees will use social media for marketing purposes this year, says eMarketer, polling by Ascend2 found that marketing professionals worldwide still faced many obstacles to achieving social media marketing success.

The main issues with social media were related to employee skills, measurement and strategy. 43% of marketers said that a lack of in-house resources and skills was an obstacle to achieving social media marketing success. In the numbers world, inability to measure return on investment was the second-biggest obstacle, at 42% of respondents, followed by 39% saying lack of an effective strategy.

Which points clearly at why marketers voiced continued reliance on email marketing for 2015 but noted the importance of getting more out of their efforts, particularly by leveraging data and automation to drive more relevant and engaging programs, says StrongView’s annual Marketing Trends Survey.

While offline advertising budgets are in decline, email and other digital marketing channels continue to grow. At 61%, email marketing remains the top target for increased investment in 2015, and a full 93% planned to maintain or increase investment in email for the 2014/2015 holiday shopping season. In terms of overall marketing budgets, 54% of brands will see an increase over 2014, and a third of those will be increasing it by more than 10% over 2014.

Marketers noted that they are increasing efforts to improve context and relevancy through the application of myriad types of consumer data, says the report. They also reported an increased emphasis on automating programs, with triggered (42%) and lifecycle (41%) being the top two types of email programs to receive increased investment. Among lifecycle email marketing programs, Loyalty (45%) and Welcome (36%) programs led in terms of attracting more investment.

Shawn Myers, vice president of marketing at StrongView, notes that “It is clear… that marketers consider email the fulcrum of their digital marketing campaigns… (and) making inroads in using automation as well as greater use of channel and device engagement data to make their messages more contextual… “

The top targets for increased email marketing investment are triggered and lifecycle marketing messages. This emphasis on automated messaging over batch mailings is a welcome development, says the report, as marketers clearly are looking at new and expanded data sources to trigger messages based on multiple data streams.

Key Marketing Trends Survey Findings:

Top three programs for which marketers plan to increase spend in 2015:

  • Email – 61%
  • Social Media – 49%
  • Mobile Marketing – 40%

Top three programs for which marketers plan to decrease spend:

  • Print Advertising – 33%
  • Direct Mail – 22%
  • Radio/Television Advertising – 18%

Top three concerns for marketers heading into 2015:

  • Accessing and leveraging customer data from multiple channels and data sources – 30% 
  • Coordination across marketing channels – 16%
  • Developing more relevant engagements – 13%

Automated programs are at top of list for increased investment in 2015:

  • Triggered/Transactional Programs – 42%
  • Lifecycle Programs – 41%

Touch points in the lifecycle where marketers are focusing spend in 2015:

  • Loyalty – 45%
  • Welcome – 36%
  • Winback/Reengagement – 27%
  • Post-Purchase – 27%

Marketers struggle with accessing and leveraging new forms of data, with only half using commonly held data in their campaigns.

  • Demographic Data – 51%
  • Purchase History – 48%

Marketers still unable to leverage other important data such as:

  • Web Behavior – 31%
  • Sentiment – 20%
  • Life Stage – 19%

For additional information from StrongView, please visit here.



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