Even as we move out of the economic recession, budgets will remain flat in the marketing arena, according to a recent report from Gartner.
In the 2010 "Gartner Predicts" report for marketing, Gartner analysts reveal that, through 2010, marketing budgets will remain flat in more than 90 percent of companies. And yet, despite budget constraints, marketers will still be expected to retrieve highly qualified leads, says Gene Alvarez, a Gartner analyst.
[Editors' Note: For an in-depth look at the unification of sales and marketing, see the February 2010 issue of CRM magazine -- available online today -- which includes an exclusive excerpt from the fourth edition of thought leader Paul Greenberg's industry bible, CRM at the Speed of Light.]
"You will get pounded by management saying, 'Get me more leads,' whether it's leads in a B2B selling environment or if it's moving people further through the funnel in an Internet sales process," Alvarez states. Marketing, an area typically associated with branding, has now turned into a lead engine for organizations, he says, with the Internet now viewed as the most cost-effective mechanism to meet marketing goals. Not only does online marketing increase reach, but it gives marketers the ability to monitor a campaign's effectiveness.
Internet marketing will continue to grow, Alvarez says, especially within online communities and social networks. "With all of this online development in marketing," he notes, "we will also raise the attention of the privacy police." In fact, Gartner's top marketing prediction is that, by 2015, Internet marketing will be regulated. As marketers do more, especially in personalizing campaigns and infiltrating social networks, it's possible that constituents will reach a point of annoyance and seek to quiet the messages and interruptions. Although in some cases consumers may benefit from a more-targeted marketing approach, thanks to more data about the consumer, there's always the possibility that marketers will overstep. "You can personalize to the point where it's scary, where it seems more like a stalker than a good recommendation," Alvarez says.
Gartner's predictions on the sales side center more around sales effectiveness. Making the most out of technology investments is and will continue to be of utmost importance in sales organizations. Part of this means crossing over traditional silos to employ customer service representatives with tools to capture leads and even make sales. According to Gartner, by 2012, 20 percent of companies will invest in contact centers to extend support for lead generation, referrals, cross-selling, and upselling by sales agents.
Sales organizations will also make use of newer technologies and solutions such as price optimization and sales performance management in order to aggressively sell and maintain margins. The biggest trend moving forward, Alvarez says, will come in the e-commerce arena, where in the coming years sites will begin to incorporate social elements reminiscent of Facebook, Amazon.com, and Twitter. By 2014, Garter predicts that 60 percent of e-commerce implementations will address communities, mobile users, and Internet-enabled devices.
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