Now that we’re well into 2017, do you know which marketing channels to invest in for the highest ROI? Two recent important and valuable studies on marketing budget trends offer a window into marketers’ plans for this year that will help you make your own budget decisions.
Hint: social media marketing appears to be ripe for further spending, and enthusiasm around content marketing remains healthy.
Marketing Budget Trends Overview
Budget outlooks are overall quite buoyant among small business marketers and enterprise CMOs.
The biggest increases expected are in digital advertising, social media marketing, marketing analytics, digital commerce, mobile marketing, customer intelligence, and content creation & management.
Social Media and Content Marketing Spend Set to Increase Over 50% in 2017
The areas of broadest agreement for spending hikes this year are social media marketing and content marketing, which are set for increases by 56% and 55%, respectively.
These increases aren’t surprising given the recent levels of enthusiasm for these channels, and the results indicate that such enthusiasm isn’t waning. In fact, content marketing and social media engagement emerged as the top digital-related priorities for organizations this year.
1 in 5 Respondents Will Increase Budgets for Social “Significantly”
20% are projecting a “significant” budget increase and 36% expect a “slight” increase in social media marketing.
Pro Tip: With the spending increases in social media and content marketing, and these channels’ resilience in engaging customers, it’s more important than ever to provide uncommon value. Invest in a written content strategy so that everyone – customers, employees and vendors – understand the value you bring to the table.
Personalization, Video Advertising and Lead Generation are Close Behind at 50%
At least half of respondents in the study will increase their spending on personalization (51%), video advertising (50%) and lead generation (50%). Personalization has become a top priority for enterprise organizations as they seek to respond to customers’ changing needs.
As for lead generation, spending increases in this area are likely going to be made with improved lead quality rather than quantity in mind. More weight is being put on smaller, engaged audiences than large, unengaged masses.
Pro Tip: Strategy is key in personalization. Personalized marketing is most often an automated process that uses specific software solutions to craft individual messages to build customer-centric recommendation engines instead of company-centric selling engines. Without a preconceived roadmap that includes organizational development, things can go off the rails quickly.
Marketing Analytics Will See 49% Budget Increase
With data becoming more and more precise, there seems to be quite an appetite for spending increases in marketing analytics. This is a welcome sign given that in August 2016 only about 1/3 of CMOs were willing to use analytics to inform their decisions.
Pro Tip: Marketing analytics are crucial to determining ROI. Key metrics and how to measure them matter. Too often, the boss takes this approach: “If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine.” Determine your goals and metrics. Then use analytics to tie your results back to those goals for true ROI.
Paid Search and Display Advertising are Set for Spending Decline
Not too surprisingly given the uptick in digital marketing spending over the past few years, no channel identified in the study was slated for more decreases than increases. However, only 3 of the 16 areas measured are planned for a decrease in spend by more than 1 in 10 respondents. Those are:
- Paid Search – set for a spending decline by 13%, but on the rise for 32% of respondents.
- Display Advertising – slated for a budget drop by 13%, but expected to rise for 34% of respondents.
- Virtual Events/Webinars – with 11% seeing a decline versus 40% of respondents projecting an increase.
Sales Enablement and Affiliate Marketing spending rounded out the bottom 5.
It’s no surprise that these marketing budget trends in Paid Search and Digital Ads show a spending decline. Banner ads are dead because your phone killed them. People are smarter about Paid Search and marketers need to adapt.
Mobile Paid Search is a bright spot, increasing by 134% since last year.
Pro Tip: Compare your own Paid Search and Display Ad spending with these stats. Every organization is different but the one thing they all have in common is the need to spend wisely. Reviewing these channels closely will be crucial going forward.
Treating social media and content marketing as an afterthought – something I see many companies doing – leaves a void in the customer’s mind…and a brand leaving money on the table. With marketing budget trends showing such an increase in these channels, there’s absolutely no good reason a company should overlook them.
It’s clear that social media and content marketing channels will be key players in reaching business goals in 2017. With increased budgets allowing for a more strategic approach, 2017 should provide even stronger outcomes.