As Jason mentioned in his post earlier today, our friends at Salesforce and ExactTarget surveyed over 2,500 marketers to find out where they are investing dollars and resources for 2014, what challenges they are facing and what trends they see. The first thing that piqued my interest was to see that of the respondents 53% had over 11 years of experience, which shows that the audience was highly targeted to people who make decisions for marketing.
Driving increased conversion rates is the top priority
It isn’t surprising to see that marketers are focused on increasing conversion rates. With the heavy focus on ROI for the last several years, it totally makes sense. However, what made less sense and stood out as almost the polar opposite was that 46% said their top priority is increasing and improving brand awareness. This goes to show that we are still trying to rest our hats on brand awareness as a meaningful metric to executive teams.
Here’s the breakdown of the stats for priorities for 2014
- 47% – Driving increased conversion rates
- 46% – Increasing and improving brand awareness
- 29% – Collecting, measuring, & using behavior-based data
Marketing budgets are on the rise or staying flat
98% of respondents said they plan on increase or maintain their marketing budgets for 2014. I would’ve loved to know the breakdown of how many plan to increase vs. how many are maintaining, but based on the areas where marketers are planning to increase my guess is that a lot of budgets are increasing. This is a refreshing shift as we’ve watched marketers try to manage stagnant budgets for too long with so many new channels needing budget dollars. Marketers will have the option to expand and they have chosen some strong channels for expansion.
Here’s the breakdown of the stats for where budgets are increasing in 2014
- 61% – Data and analytics
- 61% – Marketing automation
- 58% – Email marketing
- 57% – Social media marketing
- 57% – Content management
Driving engagement and revenue is the primary lifecycle challenge
ExactTarget defines the prospect and customer life cycle in four stages: acquire, onboard, engage and retain. IBM’s The Inbound State of Marketing report and several others have all shown that acquiring new subscribers was the largest challenge for marketers in lifecycle management. However, this has now shifted with 65% of respondents stating that driving engagement and revenue is their top challenge today. Engagement is closely followed by the challenge of acquiring new email subscribers so we haven’t fully solved that problem, either.
Here’s the breakdown of the stats for Lifecycle Marketing challenges
- 65% – Increasing subscriber engagement and revenue
- 58% – Acquiring new subscribers
- 45% – Developing a strong relationship with new subscribers
- 42% – Getting the attention of subscribers that are no longer engaging with your messages
The promising thing is that marketers are making investments that should help all 4 challenges with lifecycle marketing. All 5 of the top investment categories will help to paint a better picture of why their subscribers aren’t engaging and generating more revenue, as well as provide better analytics to do more testing around content that does and doesn’t work.
From my perspective, the future looks pretty darned bright! Would you agree?
Check out the full report here