Social media marketing will be the number one area of new investment for marketing executives over the next three to five years, according to a survey of 478 chief marketing officers and senior marketing executives around the world, conducted by the Economist Intelligent Unit on behalf of Marketo.
Asked where they plan to increase spending in the near and mid-term, the largest share of survey respondents (37%) said they plan to direct their technology investments to social marketing. That was followed by mobile marketing at 28%; marketing analytics at 25%; email marketing at 23%; advertising management at 22%; and content marketing at 20%.
Breaking down the results by company size, the smallest companies surveyed -- those with revenues under $500 million -- were most gung ho on social media marketing, with around 60% planning to increase their spending on this discipline. By contrast, only 45% of the companies in this category planned to increase spending on mobile marketing, and fewer than 40% planned to increase spending on marketing analytics.
Meanwhile, big companies -- those with revenues of $5 billion to $10 billion -- were less enthused about social media marketing, with fewer than 20% planning to increase spending here. Marketing executives from big companies were much more enthusiastic about Web site testing and optimization, with 50% planning to increase spending in that category, and marketing automation along with integrated marketing, cited by around a third of execs as an area of future investment.
It’s worth noting that while social media marketing was the most popular area for increased investment over the next five years, marketing execs no longer seem to consider it truly revolutionary or game-changing, suggesting that social is becoming just another tool in the toolbox (albeit an important one). Here the “Internet of Things” looms large, with more than half of marketers surveyed saying they expected the growing universe of connected devices to revolutionize marketing by 2020. The remainder cited real-time, personalized mobile communications as the emerging trend with the biggest impact.