Large reductions in marketing budgets contributed to dismal sales performance in 2009, but companies are fighting back: Over three-quarters (72.5%) say they are increasing their marketing budgets in 2010, and over 9 in 10 cite customer acquisition as their top marketing objective in the next 12 months, according to the Lead Generation report from from CSO Insights.

In 2009, 67.0% of surveyed companies said they froze or reduced their marketing spend, but in 2010 that level has fallen to 27.5%.

Among surveyed companies, the top 3 marketing objectives for 2010 are the following:

  1. Customer acquisition: 91.2% of companies now say acquiring new customers is their top priority, compared with 65.0% who said so in 2007—when the activity was ranked No. 2.
  2. Brand awareness: An all-time-high 54% of companies now say branding is their top priority, compared with 40.0% who said so a year earlier and 52.0% who said so in 2007. Trends in social media are likely responsible for an increased focus how companies—and their products—are viewed in the marketplace, moving beyond just one of many vendors to a preferred-supplier status, according to CSO Insights.
  3. Cross-selling and up-selling: 41.2% of companies say their top priority is to both optimize deal size and increase wallet share with current customers, especially as many look to show investors they can once again achieve revenue growth.

Below, other findings from the annual Lead Generation Optimization report, 2010 Lead Generation Optimization Key Trends Analysis (LGO).

Email Top Lead-Gen Tool

Measured by the quality and quantity of leads generated, 62% of companies say email marketing is their top lead-generation tool, compared with 59% who said so a year earlier.

Live events and tradeshows ranked second (45%), followed by website registrations, which moved up to the No. 3 spot from No. 4 the previous year.

Social media broke into the top 10 of lead-generation programs. Meanwhile, new media (e.g., blogs, podcasts, mobile marketing) did not move up in rank.

Looking for great digital marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed hundreds of research sources to create our most recent Digital Marketing Factbook (May 2010), a 296-page compilation of data and 254 charts, covering email marketing, social media, search engine marketing, e-commerce, and mobile marketing. Also check out The State of Social Media Marketing, a 240-page original research report from MarketingProfs.

Changes in Lead-Gen Investments

Nearly two-thirds of companies (65%) say they will invest more marketing dollars on website design and content in the next 12 months, followed by email marketing (54%) and new media (52%).

Data quality is also is a major concern: Only 8% of companies say the currency and correctness of their prospect data is 90% or greater. In response to that challenge, 47% of companies are increasing investments in data management.

Fully one-half (50%) of companies say they now have processes in place to track campaign ROI. The top 3 ROI metrics cited are the following:

  1. Total number of leads generated per campaign.
  2. Number of leads that convert to sales opportunities.
  3. Amount of revenue ultimately closed from those opportunities.

About the data: Findings are from a CSO Insights survey of 635 companies, from April 20 to July 19, 2010. Among them, 63% were small firms (< $50M in revenues), 22% were medium-sized companies ($50M to $500M), and 15% were large enterprises (>$500M).  

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Customer Acquisition Top Marketing Priority

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