Developing a dynamic and cohesive marketing strategy has become essential for businesses that want to profit in today’s competitive marketplace. While some business owners believe that they don’t need to implement strong digital marketing strategies to be successful, their customers are increasingly turning to the Internet to inform their purchase decisions.
Several trends are shaping the direction of digital marketing in 2014 and beyond; aside from increasing mobile adoption (which is fueling the growth of m-commerce), an increasing number of consumers are becoming multi-platform users. Multi-platform users are consumers who use both mobile and desktop devices to consume digital media. According to comScore’s “2014 U.S. Digital Future in Focus,” multi-platform users became the majority of digital media consumers in the United States in April 2013, representing 56% of digital media consumers.
Meanwhile, the growth and influence of social media websites—such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn—have transformed strategic social media marketing, turning it into a vital and lucrative aspect of digital marketing. Consequentially, many of the largest companies are evolving enterprise class social media marketing platforms and infrastructure to help them consolidate their social media marketing campaigns.
Different B2B, B2C, and mixed B2B and B2C companies understand that if they want to expand their brands, increase their sales, and grow their businesses quickly, they need to invest money into their digital marketing efforts. Both your prospects and existing customers have moved online, where they’re actively searching for different products and services, and are reading the recommendations of friends and other consumers. Businesses that aren’t visible in the online world will lose out to savvier businesses that have increased the focus and intensity of their digital marketing efforts.
Your Competitors are Increasing their Overall Marketing Budgets
The latest reports indicate that more marketers are increasing their overall marketing budgets in 2014 than maintaining or decreasing their overall marketing budgets. According to the fifth annual Marketing Budgets Report, which was published by Econsultancy and sponsored by Responsys, 60% of client-side respondents say their companies are increasing their overall marketing budgets in 2014—which is significantly higher compared to 54% in 2013 and 45% in 2012.
The same report stated that 34% of client-side respondents say their companies are maintaining the same overall marketing budgets for 2014, while only 6% of client-side respondents say their companies are decreasing their overall marketing budgets for 2014.
Forty-four percent of supply-side respondents say their clients are increasing their overall marketing budgets in 2014—up from 39% in 2013 and 30% in 2012. As for digital marketing budgets, the number of companies increasing their spending has been remarkably consistent since 2009, and is 71% this year. Digital budgets have largely been insulated from spending cuts as more companies focus on their digital channels to drive business growth, as well as leads and sales conversions.
Meanwhile, only 20% of companies are planning to increase their traditional (offline) marketing budgets in 2014, with 55% of companies planning to keep their traditional (offline) marketing budgets the same over the next year.
As for the average increase in overall marketing budgets, the fifth annual Marketing Budgets Report stated that companies will be increasing their overall marketing budgets by an average of 26% in 2014. Meanwhile, approximately three in every four companies (73%) stated that they will be increasing their budgets by up to 30% this year.
Budget Allocation across Digital Marketing Channels
When it comes to budget allocation, the lion’s share of budget increases will go to content marketing, followed by SEO and mobile marketing for acquisition in 2014. According to the fifth annual Marketing Budgets Report, 74% of client-side responding companies stated they will be increasing their content marketing budgets in 2014, 63% stated they will be increasing their search engine optimization budgets in 2014, and 63% stated they will be increasing their mobile marketing budgets in 2014.
On the other hand, the digital channels marketers will most likely be decreasing their expenditure in 2014 are paid search and online display advertising for acquisition/engagement. Meanwhile, the majority of supply-side respondents stated that their clients are planning to increase their budgets in content marketing (80%), mobile marketing for acquisition (67%), and mobile marketing for engagement/retention (61%) in 2014.
According to Gartner’s Digital Marketing Spending Survey, overall expenditure for digital advertising will grow in 2014 as brands, ad agencies, and publishers invest in diversified channels in order to deliver more relevant advertising to target audiences. The use of programmatic media, which allows marketers to target their desired audience and automate bidding rules for ads based on the business value they deliver, is a major impetus for this growth.
Content Marketing Expenditure is on the Rise for B2C and B2B Marketers
High-quality content will become increasingly vital to the success of businesses in 2014, as consumers use search engines to look for products and services, and find the answers to their queries. Leads on the lookout for particular products and services use the Internet as their first port of call; they check out business websites and social media profiles, and sign up for newsletters to get more valuable information.
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s “B2C Content Marketing 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends” report, 90% of B2C marketers are using content marketing this year, compared with 86% last year. Furthermore, 60% of B2C marketers are planning to increase their content marketing budget over the next 12 months. Of this percentage, 15% are planning to significantly increase their content marketing budgets over the next 12 months.
As for B2B marketers, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s “B2B Content Marketing 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends” report, 93% of B2B marketers are using content marketing in 2014, compared with 91% last year. 58% of B2B marketers are planning to increase their content marketing budget over the next 12 months, while more B2B marketers are planning to increase their content marketing budgets in 2014, compared with last year (54%).
The Content Marketing Institute’s report also stated that all B2B marketers are planning to increase their content marketing spending at similar rates—even marketers who rate themselves as “least effective”. Meanwhile, more small companies (with 10-99 employees) than large companies (with 1,000 or more employees) are planning to increase their content marketing budgets over the next 12 months (60% versus 52%).
Marketers are Focusing on Acquisition Rather than Engagement/Retention Marketing
According to the fifth annual Marketing Budgets Report, 34% of client-side respondents said they were investing more in acquisition marketing rather than engagement/retention marketing in 2014. This percentage is slightly higher than in 2013, when 31% of client-side respondents said they were investing more in acquisition rather than engagement/retention marketing. This modest boost in acquisition marketing can be partially attributed to the more positive economic climate and the corresponding increase in marketing budgets.
Only 18% of client-side respondents said they were investing more in engagement/retention marketing rather than acquisition marketing in 2014. This was a slight drop from 2013, when 24% of client-side respondents said they were investing more in engagement/retention marketing rather than acquisition marketing.
Adjust your Marketing Budget Accordingly to Industry Growth to Fuel your own Growth
Businesses that want to expand their brands, increase their sales, and grow their businesses quickly will need to calibrate their marketing budgets accordingly to meet these goals. The majority of your competitors are increasing their overall marketing budgets, especially in digital channels like content marketing, search engine optimization, mobile marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing.
Unfortunately, doing exactly what your competitors are doing won’t be enough. If you want to surpass your competitors, you’ll need to hire a professional digital marketing agency with a proven track record of success and years of experience. In other words, you should hire us!
We’ll help you identify the ideal marketing budget for your organization in order to drive your marketing objectives and business goals. By establishing an optimal marketing budget, your business will become more competitive and profitable in an increasingly cutthroat marketplace. We’ll also develop a dynamic marketing strategy for your business that will drive growth, boost your profits, expand your brand online, and increase your leads and sales conversions.
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