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Fully one-half of businesses (50%) say they plan to increase their marketing budgets in 2011, with much of that spending growth allocated to email, social media, and search marketingaccording to a survey from StrongMail.

Over four in five surveyed marketers and business leaders (43%) say their companies' budgets will stay at current levels, and 7% plan to decrease marketing budgets—an improvement over the 11% who planned to do so a year earlier

Email marketing is the top area of investment growth among marketers and business leaders (65%), followed by social media marketing (57%) and search marketing (41%).

Direct mail (36%) and tradeshows and events (33%) are the top targets for decreased spending; however, that is a marked improvement over the previous year, during which marketers reduced spending  in those areas by 42% and 44%, respectively.

Below, other findings from StrongMail's 2011 Marketing Trends report, based on a survey of 925 marketers and business leaders.

Top Email Marketing Priorities: Engagement and Segmentation

With marketers and business leaders allocating more resources to email marketing initiatives in 2011, over one-half say they plan to focus on increasing subscriber engagement (52%), improving segmentation and targeting (49%), and integrating social media and email marketing (43%) during the year.

More than two in five marketers (42%) say growing their email lists is among their most important email initiatives for 2011.

Integrating Email With Social Media 

More than one-half of marketers and business leaders (52%) say they now have a strategy in place to integrate their email marketing initiatives with social media and are implementing that strategy (28%) or researching appropriate tools with which to do so (24%). Some 19% have such a strategy, but say they're not sure how to implement it.

Despite budget increases, marketers and business leaders cite a lack of resources and staffing as their biggest email marketing challenge in 2011 (44%), followed by customer data integration issues (41%) and maintaining high email deliverability (36%).

Looking for solid, substantiated information about email from the industry's best resources? The 67-page Email Marketing Factbook featuring 39 charts tells you about email usage, what captures users' attention, and how organizations are using email to reach customers. This email factbook consists of chapters 1 & 2 from the larger Digital Marketing Factbook a 144-page compilation of data and 110 charts that also covers search engine marketing and social media.

Social Media Priorities

Among various social media activities, 35% of marketers and business leaders say marketing via Facebook is a top priority, followed by viral/referral marketing programs (22%), Twitter marketing (21%), and implementing social media management technologies (21%).

Asked to identify the value they derive from social media, marketers and business leaders cite awareness building (63%), followed by building customer loyalty and retention (54%), reaching new audience (42%), customer acquisition (41%), lead generation (22%), and driving revenue (16%).

About the data: StrongMail's 2011 Marketing Trends survey of 925 marketers and business leaders was conducted online by Zoomerang for StrongMail, Nov. 18-29, 2010. 

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