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Email, Social, and Mobile Are Marketers' 2013 Budget Priorities

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Email, social media, and mobile rank as marketers' top spending priorities for 2013, according to a survey from StrongMail: 55.5% of marketing executives say they plan to increase spending on email campaigns in 2013; 51.8% plan to boost spend on social media; and 42.8% plan to up their spend on mobile marketing.

In addition, 39.8% of surveyed marketing executives plan to increase spending on search marketing in 2013.

By contrast, tactics such public relations (13.9%) and direct mail (15.4%) will likely take a back seat in the coming year, according to the findings. 

Total marketing budgets are set to rise in 2013: 89.1% of marketing execs plan to increase (45.2%) or maintain spend (43.9%), a slight decrease from the 92% who planned to do so for 2012.


Below, additional findings from the 2013 Marketing Trends survey by StrongMail.

Top Email Priorities

Social media is a key focus, even for email campaigns: A plurality (46.2%) of marketing execs plans to increase spend toward email marketing programs focused on social-media channel growth. In addition, roughly one-third plan to focus on promotional batch campaigns (38.8%), lifecycle programs (36.6), and newsletters (34.7%):

Win-back or re-engagement emails (63.3%) are the most popular type of lifecycle campaign, followed by welcome emails (59.8%), renew and replenishment (36.9%), and cart abandonment emails (35.8%), the survey found.

Strategic Goals for Email

Fully one-half (50%) of marketers cite increasing subscriber engagement as their top 2013 email marketing goal; 48% cite improving segmentation/targeting; and 33% cite growing opt-in email lists.

In addition, nearly two-thirds (65%) of marketers say they plan to integrate social media and email in 2013, up from the 44% who planned to do so a year earlier.

Social Marketing Priorities

In the social spending category, marketers are casting a wide net in 2013: A plurality (39.6%) plans to increase spend on Facebook marketing programs; 26.5% on social media management technologies; 23.6% on viral or referral campaigns; and 23.3% on Twitter programs.

Some 16.1% of marketers plan to increase spend on social media staffing, and 14.9% plan to boost spend on Pinterest marketing efforts.

Most Valuable Social Channels

Marketers rank Facebook as the most valued social media channel (receiving a score of 1.92 on a scale of 1 to 8 with 1 being most important). Twitter is No. 2 (2.76), followed by YouTube (3.48), LinkedIn (4.30), Google+ (4.68), Pinterest (5.06), Instagram (6.53), and Yelp (7.27).

Marketers cite awareness building (65.2%) as the No. 1 benefit of social marketing. Customer loyalty and retention is No. 2 (49.9%), followed by expanded reach to new audiences (46.2%), new customer acquisition (36.1%), and lead generation (18.6%).

Mobile Marketing Priorities

In the mobile marketing category, mobile apps (39.1%) and mobile advertising top marketers' priorities in 2013, followed by SMS alerts (21.3%) and location-based marketing (16.3%).

However, there's a lack of consensus on the primary value of the channel. Building customer loyalty (44%) is cited as the top benefit, followed by expanded reach (34%) and awareness building (33%).

About the data: The StrongMail "2013 Marketing Trends Survey" is based on a survey of 1,002 marketing and business executives in a wide range of industries serving, November 14-28, 2012. Some 37.5% are B2C companies, 34.9% are B2B, and 27.7% serve both consumers and businesses.


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Lenna Garibian is a MarketingProfs research writer and a marketing consultant in the tech industry, where she develops engaging content that builds thought leadership and revenue opportunities for clients. She's held marketing and research positions at eRPortal Software, GAP Inc., Stanford University, and the IMF. Reach Lenna via Twitter @LennaAnahid and LinkedIn.

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  • by Julia Thu Dec 13, 2012 via web

    It would be great to see this broken into BB and B2C, because goals are often different. For example, as a B2B company in the Financial Services space, we will not be investing in Facebook marketing.

  • by Steve Lubahn Thu Dec 13, 2012 via web

    There are lots of articles predicting what 2013 holds for marketing. This article is well thought out and nice clear graphs, aligns well with what we are seeing for our typical clients and where I believe companies should focus their marketing budgets for 2013.

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