Marketers Seek More Resources to Improve Strategies

November 17, 2011

etailing-marketing-strategy-wish-list-nov11.gifAlmost 1 in 5 marketers say the most important factor to elevating their current marketing strategy is increased resources such as staffing and funding, according to a November 2011 white paper from the e-tailing group sponsored by Bronto. Data from “Surviving the Current Marketing Mania with a Solid 2012 Plan” indicates that this is the top factor to almost 40% more respondents than the second- and third-ranked factors, customer behavior insights/CRM/data, and reporting/analytics, both at 13%. Rounding out the top 5 were SEO, search – paid, local (8%), and segmentation, targeting (8%). Digital strategies such as social (6%), mobile (5%) and email (4%) were relatively less important to the marketers surveyed.

Merchants Only Moderately Prepared

Asked about their company’s ability to deploy engaging messages in a timely fashion, 1 in 4 marketers gave themselves a score of 6 out of 10, with 10 meaning fully prepared. The next most widespread scores were 8 (19%), 5 (17%), and 7 (15%). 1 in 3 marketers scored themselves a 5 or lower, meaning that although the majority feel they are ready to deploy engaging messages, they are not highly confident.

According to a study released by IBM in October, 71% of global chief marketing officers (CMOs) feel unprepared for the explosion of data that is occurring in the marketplace, while a similar percentage (68%) feels unprepared for social media. Other developing business and trends a large proportion of CMOs feel unprepared for include growth of channel and device choices (65%), shifting consumer demographics (63%), and financial constraints (59%).

SEO, Mobile Top Revenue Enhancers

31% of respondents to the e-tailing group survey say they expect to see a significant increase in revenue generated from SEO in the coming year, closely followed by the proportion (30%) who say that mobile tactics (m-commerce, iPads, mobile applications) will have that effect. Roughly 1 in 5 respondents say that email and paid search will bring about a significant increase in revenue, although just 14% say social media activities will significantly enhance revenue.

Digital Strategies To Get Bigger Budgets

Although only a small minority of respondents forecast social media as a significant revenue enhancer, 4 in 5 say they will be allocating a greater share of their overall marketing budget to social strategies such as blogs and social networks, with 1 in 3 saying these strategies will get a significant increase in budget share. SEO, seen as the top revenue enhancer, will see the most widespread increase in budget share, cited by 83% of marketers overall, including 42% who plan to devote a significantly higher portion of their budget in the coming year to that tactic. Marketers responding to a Webmarketing123 report released in November also cite social media and SEO as top spending activities next year, although a great proportion (60%) plan to increase their social media marketing budgets in 2012 than expect to increase investment in SEO (53.1%).

Meanwhile, according to the e-tailing group, a majority of marketers also plan to allocate a greater share of their budgets to email (71%), targeting / behavioral marketing (67%), paid search (57%) and SMS / mobile (57%).

Online Budget Skews Towards Paid Search, Email

Paid search (30%) will see the greatest share of merchants’ holiday and 2012 online / cross-channel marketing budgets, followed by email (18%) and SEO / natural search (11%). Even with planned budget increases, social strategies are predicted to account for just 8% of these budgets.

About the Data: The e-tailing group surveyed 110 merchants in Q3 2011. 24% had annual sales of $1-5 million, while 21% had annual sales of $501 million or greater. For 46% of those surveyed, online sales account for more than half of their overall business, while for one-quarter, online sales account for 3-10% of overall business.

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