Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Here Comes 2012: Survey Reveals Top B-to-B Marketing Priorities

It’s that time of year for the pundits to weigh in on 2012 marketing programs, goals, and resolutions.

This makes for worthwhile reading.  In fact, the B2B Blog joined in the fray with “2011 marketing resolutions” posted about a year ago.  (Look for a follow up “year in review” post in early 2012.)

Revealing Findings

The topic this time, though, is insight gained from a recent StrongMail survey.

Last month, StrongMail posted the results of its 2012 Marketing Trends Survey [PDF] -- revealing how businesses plan to spend their marketing dollars in the upcoming year.

The timely survey of 939 b-to-b marketing professionals showcases planned marketing budgets, priorities & challenges for 2012. Key findings include:

  • 60 percent of respondents will raise email-marketing budgets
  • 54 percent will invest more in social media
  • 37 percent will increase mobile and search budgets 

The Power of Email Marketing

(One caveat:  it is worth noting that an email-marketing vendor sponsored the survey.) 

That said, continued investment in b-to-b email marketing is no surprise.  Print direct mail programs are expensive and results are hard to measure, so of course respondents are backing off print programs.  The companies surveyed are likely already doing some form of email marketing, and it is always easier to continue an on-going program than to launch a completely new effort. Email marketing is easy to understand, and can be implemented with a wealth of affordable tools. (MailChimp my current new favorite!)  

Ease of measurement is also likely a big factor here. Metrics like open rates, click through rates, and completed forms are fairly easy to assemble, and intuitive to understand.

What do marketers hope to achieve with email marketing in 2012? According to the survey, goals include:
  • 48 percent: increasing subscriber engagement
  • 44 percent: increasing segmentation and targeting
  • 32 percent: increasing email opt-ins (subscribers)

More Social Media

Email marketing is not the only game in town for 2012.

39 percent of respondents will strengthen their Facebook campaigns, 25 percent will focus on social media management technology, and 24 percent will increase Twitter activity.  I don’t see any mention of LinkedIn on this survey, which is surprising.

Integration will be a key factor in 2012. An impressive 68 percent of respondents look to further integrate their social media marketing directly into their email programs.

Not so Mobile?
It was a surprise to read that only 29 percent of those surveyed plan to move to investing in mobile applications, especially considering the increased use of mobile data access.  But again, this is a survey sponsored by an email-marketing vendor, so this is just one data point.
The 2012 Bottom Line
The take-away here is that 92 percent of businesses surveyed plan to increase or maintain their marketing spend in 2012.
Let’s wish them a fast ROMI, meaningful metrics, and business development success!  Happy Holidays!

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