Social Media Takes a Bigger Bite of Marketing Budgets

Social media occupies more of your marketing department’s time with every passing month, and not just because everyone checks their Facebook and Twitter feeds during lunch. The connections people form via Pinterest, Twitter, and other social sites have a vast impact on sales and marketing. It’s no surprise, then, that savvy marketers want to capitalize on it.

According to BtoB Magazine’s most recent report, “Outlook 2013: Marketing Priorities and Plans,” slightly fewer than half of marketing departments intend to increase their overall spending this year. However, a majority of the respondents – just over 56 percent – plan to increase social media spending. Even though that’s a fairly small majority, the figure is more meaningful than it might initially seem, considering the relatively low-cost investment needed to create a sound social media strategy.

By comparison, about two thirds of respondents plan to invest more heavily in online marketing in general, including investing in email lists and initiating email marketing campaigns. Of that 67 percent who will devote more of their marketing dollars to digital marketing, website development remains the single largest expenditure, while email marketing is a close second at 62 percent. Webcasts, webinars, and other virtual events will get a bigger share of the marketing pie for 42 percent of respondents.

Video marketing is giving social media spending a run for its money, also garnering higher spending from 56 percent of the marketing experts polled. Because video has become seamlessly integrated with social media via YouTube, it’s safe to assume that spending in one area will overlap expenditures in the other for many marketing departments.

One big surprise in the poll is the relatively low investment that most marketers plan on putting into mobile development. Of those who intended to increase spending on digital marketing, only 36 percent planned to invest more marketing money in smartphones and other mobile platforms. This strategy could leave room for CMOs and marketing departments willing to invest in responsive web design, crowd-sourced mobile marketing, and other techniques geared to letting customers take it with them.

While the survey provided intriguing data, interpreting that data and translating it into real-world marketing changes is a bit more challenging. Although two thirds plan to increase their spending on digital marketing, only half of the marketing personnel polled intend to devote that spending to marketing automation and associated technology. The discrepancy could mean that some marketers already feel they have the social media and email marketing solution they need, or it could imply that some marketing departments are striking out on their own.

Many of those who choose to design their own digital media strategies may find, though, that this alternative isn’t a money-saver for them. Integrated marketing solutions that create a unified social media, email, static website, and blog strategy may come with an economical package price that a-la-carte options can’t match, particularly for small and mid-sized businesses.

Overall, the poll described a robust marketing environment. Only 10 percent of business leaders surveyed expected to cut their marketing budgets for 2013. One in five will keep the same budget as last year, but many of them will undoubtedly allocate more of their spending to social media and digital marketing development.

© Reach Marketing LLC 2013 All Rights Reserved.

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