A Harvard Business Review blog post recently noted that analog marketing spending (the more traditional channels) is 3 times as high as digital spending. That can be perceived as surprising and not so surprising at the same time.
Gartner recently released the U.S. Digital Spending Survey, 2013, which is a terrific summarization of high level aspects of the traditional-digital blend of marketing communications. Key findings include:
- Marketing budgets will increase 6% in 2013.
- 41% of companies that have engaged in more digital marketing at the expense of traditional marketing have experienced cost savings and used that cost savings for more digital marketing.
- The corporate website is perceived as the #1 digital marketing component.
Most brand managers like the news of having an increased marketing budget. Since the onset of recessionary conditions in late 2007/early 2008, it has been fairly typical for brand managers to have had to cope with reduced budgets and/or demands for more efficient and effective marketing spends with existing budgets. While we do not expect the aforementioned demands to subside any time soon, fewer budget reductions would be a welcome change for a marketers. Industries known for using distributed marketing models, such as insurance/financial services and healthcare are expected to see 6% and 5% marketing budget increases this year. This data was released in March and was based on survey answers in November-December 2012, so it is possible that the budgetary increases may not have come to fruition when it is all said and done on December 31, 2013.
The second bullet point indicates that there’s been a level of satisfaction with digital marketing efforts. There are cost savings that can occur with digital marketing if it is done right. There’s been an idea within the realm of digital and social media marketing that it is essentially free. That could not be further from the truth. Sure, digital marketing will often come up less expensive than a lot of traditional mass media campaigns, but it is not necessarily inexpensive. Most of how an organization perceives cost of digital depends upon their own financial circumstances. Search marketing, display advertising, and social media marketing have their own costs. There are many instances when the less expensive costs of social media pay for themselves.
It makes sense that the website is ranked as the #1 digital marketing component. The website is owned space online. It is the hub of all online marketing activity. A multichannel, social media presence is meant to complement it. When multiple elements of the online marketing mix work well together, the result is usually pretty, and pretty results are often reflected on financial statements.