Where have we been? Where are we going? How do we get there? Those are the three general questions companies need to ask at the beginning of each year (if not more frequently). They form the core of marketing strategy.
When it comes to marketing, you need a map to navigate the changing terrain and determine the best path to reach your customers. This report looks at new survey findings revealing the most common paths companies will take to connect with consumers in 2016.
In today’s post we’ll look at a handful of telling findings from the survey for you to compare with your own marketing strategy moving forward.
About the 2016 Marketing Trends Survey
This survey was conducted by Selligent and StrongView in late 2015. It reflects the attitudes of 295 business leaders across a wide range of industries in regards to their planned marketing budgets, priorities, and challenges for 2016.
How Will Companies Change Their Marketing Approach This Year?
Here are some of our key takeaways from the findings of the 2016 Marketing Trends Survey…
1. The majority of marketing budgets will increase in 2016
56.27% of companies reported in the survey that their marketing budgets will rise in 2016 (up 2% from last year). 34.92% of companies said they will keep their budget the same as last year, while 8.81% of business leaders said they will decrease their budgets (up from 6% in 2015).
2. Email, online and related efforts are where most companies will increase their marketing spending.
Where will companies ramp up their marketing spend in 2016? Online display advertising (55.93%), email marketing (59.66%), mobile marketing (51.86%), and social media (56.27%) topped the list for most companies.
3. More traditional marketing and advertising efforts will see the greatest spending decline this year.
Print advertising (23.39%), direct mail (11.53%), radio/television advertising (10.85%), and trade show & events (12.88%) are where companies report they will decrease their budgets the most in 2016.
4. Subscriber engagement and improving segmentation will be top email marketing priorities.
The email marketing initiatives most companies ranked as top priorities in 2016: Increasing subscriber engagement (34.58%), improving segmentation and targeting (14.24%), and improving data analysis to better understand customer context (12.88%). These were also the top three in 2015—though data analysis came in ahead of segmentation last year.
5. Email lifecycle programs will be a key focus for many companies in 2016.
33.9% of companies said they plan on increasing spending on email marketing lifecycle programs. Within that category, 67.68% said they will increase spending on welcome programs; 60.61% said loyalty programs; and 56.57% said winback/reenagagement programs.
6. The biggest email marketing challenges are leveraging data and improving targeting.
According to the survey, business leaders rank their biggest email marketing challenges heading into 2016 as follows: Leveraging customer data from multiple channels and sources (26.78%), improving targeting and segmentation (17.63%), and inadequate data and analytics capabilities to engage in contextual marketing (12.2%).
7. Demographic, purchase history and online behavior are the top email marketing data sources.
When asked “what data sources are you leveraging to power your email marketing programs?”, the top responses were: Demographic (52.2%), purchase history (47.8%), Web behavior (35.93%), channel engagement (24.41%), location data (24.07%), and life stage (23.73%).
8. Data quality, resources and access are key challenges to using data in email marketing.
Business leaders ranked the biggest challenges to leveraging more data in email marketing programs as follows: Data cleanliness/quality (20.34%), lack of resources (14.92%), data access (13.56%), data analysis (11.53%), and lack of strategy (9.49%).
9. The big three still reign supreme when it comes to social media.
The top three performing networks for social media marketing efforts noted by the surveyed companies were: Facebook (66.1%), LinkedIn (14.58%), and Twitter (6.78%). Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and Google Plus also popped up in frequently in the rankings, but not generally as top performers.
How do these survey findings compare with what’s happening at your company? View the full 2016 Marketing Trends Survey here or check out the infographic below: