The Chief Marketing Officer Council has released its sixth annual "State of Marketing" report, which surveyed more than 550 marketing leaders across the globe, offering a glimpse into marketers' strategies in ad spending, technology investments, and other areas for the coming year, revealing a number of findings.
More than half of the respondents (54 percent) increased their marketing budgets this year, while 22 percent reduced their budgets and 24 percent had no change in spend compared to last year, according to the report.
In the ongoing battle between digital and traditional ad spending, digital slightly edged out traditional spending. Respondents plan to allocate 27 percent of their marketing budget to digital channels like online advertising, social, mobile, search, and video next year, versus 23 percent earmarked for traditional channels like television, radio, print, radio, and outdoor signage.
Signs that marketers are shifting their attention to digital advertising will continue to grow as more consumers switch to using digital devices, according to Liz Miller, vice president of the CMO Council.
"This is the first year where we've seen a distinct move to invest more money on digital versus traditional," Miller says. "As the consumer demands more digital engagement channels, digital is going to dominate across all investment fronts, including operational and advertising functions."
In terms of investments in marketing automation solutions, email continues to dominate the list, with 41 percent of respondents indicating they will be investing in new email solution deployments during the next 12 months. Web site performance optimization came in at second place at 34 percent, followed by mobile applications at 33 percent.
These numbers could soon change, however, as the mobile space continues to heat up. Mobile narrowly beat out social media as the top tool that marketers will be exploring over the next 12 months. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of the respondents said they will be looking into some form of mobile engagement or platform whereas 63 percent said they would be evaluating new or alternative engagements through social media.
Considering that social media is a very mobile-friendly channel, most marketers need to reassess their strategy to meet the needs of the increasingly multichannel consumer, adds Miller. The problem is that marketers are "getting stuck in that grind right now where everyone is developing an app" without "strategizing as to where and how that app fits into their marketing mix," she notes.
Offering a unified brand experience is becoming more important as customers move from one channel to another. "We've always thought of businesses as B2B or B2C…. Mobile is forcing us to change the way we look at it," Miller explains. "Mobile has brought a resurgence of the idea of brand. Now we're thinking about where and how we're engaging with consumers…mobile plus brand is forcing a change of the paradigm."