Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Economic forecast for marketing spend

"Direct's annual survey of e-commerce practices shows continued investment in digital strategies, with additional spending anticipated for 2009."
The above is a quote from the leading paragraph in a Direct Magazine article, titled "What Downturn?". The article reports on results of a recent survey that measured online and other marketing spending trends.

It should be no surprise that in this tough economy companies are looking for a measurable return on their marketing investment.
According to Direct's research, 29% of all marketers have shifted marketing dollars from traditional channels to online media, a figure comparable to last year's study.
Of course, online media is augmented with off-line. Marketers are embracing a multi-channel approach, with a slightly different 'spin' for B2B vs B2C marketers.

Consumer firms indicate direct mail is their key Web site traffic driver, with e-mail a close second. Natural search (as a result of search optimization), paid search listings and word-of-mouth referrals follow.

B-to-B firms rely more on word of mouth — so much so that it's the top-cited channel for generating Web traffic. E-mail and direct mail campaigns are gaining fast, though, while search engine optimization trails, a distant fourth.

Some other interesting findings:

  • Just over half of B-to-B respondents optimize their Web sites in order to boost rankings in search engine queries, compared with more than two-thirds of consumer companies.

  • Consumer marketers are more diligent about collecting and analyzing clickthrough data than B-to-B firms. Better than three out of four consumer respondents do this, vs. 57% of B-to-B DMers.

  • Just over one out of five respondents say staffing in their online marketing departments was up during the last 12 months, while nearly two-thirds note that it stayed the same. As in 2007, only 4% lost employees.

My take: Overall, direct marketing, as an industry, is alive and kicking. We're poised for growth in key areas (analytics is one of them) and a multi-channel approach is important.


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