Marketers are going to be a doing a lot of budget rearranging heading into the new year. It looks as though this has already begun though. Many are shifting a good amount of their offline marketing dollars to online methods.
Nearly half of all marketing spending is going to online strategies – 47%. This information is according to a survey conducted by Hearst Electronics Group and Goldstein Group Communications (GGC).
"This type of data reveals best practices among business marketers at a time of tremendous flux," said GGC President Joel Goldstein. "The sense of urgency to move to online marketing has been felt by leading marketing organizations for some time now, but the extent to which budgets have been re- defined is dramatic. While traditional media still play a role in building a balanced program, clearly online spending for webcasts, search engine marketing and generating online content are now seen as the primary drivers of branding and lead generation for most companies."
Many of the participants in the survey said they get their best leads from their website and search engines. GGC stresses that it is about quality and not quantity. This makes sense since it is easier to target an audience online.
As I discussed before, targeted advertising is probably going to play an even bigger role as budgets tighten, because highly targeted campaigns tend to be more relevant to consumers, and are perhaps more likely to drive them to the advertised business. Targeted advertising is a big part of online methods like search engine advertising, and email marketing. Although with targeted platforms from social networks like MySpace and Facebook, I wouldn’t rule out social media either.
Search engine marketing accounts for 11% of budgets, when including organic as well as pay-per-click programs.
Hearst VP Publishing Director William Barron says the importance of building strong brands carries through to Google and Yahoo! initiatives as well. "The value of strong brand recognition can be found typically in your company’s own server logs, the database that identifies what words or phrases people have typed in to Google or Yahoo! in order to find your site," he explains. "The dominant phrase is likely to be your company’s own name or product names. While ideally you’re building search engine visibility to reach new people who don’t know you, the approach still must be centered around balanced brand-building so the market knows your name and you carry some level of visibility in your space."
Don’t rule out direct marketing though. It’s still accounting for 12% of b2b spending between email and direct mail marketing. Trade shows are accounting for 17% according to Goldstein. "While trade shows are certainly among the most expensive tactics employed, and while shows have enjoyed a modest growth spurt from 2002 to 2007 in traffic and revenues, we had expected to see more trimming in that portion of the budget, as senior level executives and buying decision-makers continue to curtail their trade show attendance for many industries," he said. 11% is still being spent o print materials.
Personally, I believe that the marketing methods should be dictated by the nature of your business. With some small businesses, it just makes sense to continue spending a fair amount of your budget on offline materials. A lot of it comes down to audience. What is the best way to reach them?
There is no question that online strategies will allow you to reach the widest audience though. And in many cases you will be able to reach more people for less money. But more importantly, it is easier to reach a targeted audience. Again, the best leads are about quality, not quantity. That’s why many online advertising programs are all about personalization.