Marketers' Budgets Up, But Cite Inability to Leverage Data

January 7, 2014

By Jack Loechner, MediaPost

According to StrongView’s "2014 Marketing Trends Survey," marketers plan to increase their budgets on activities that increase customer engagement through more relevant and timely campaigns. 93% of marketers plan to increase or maintain marketing budgets for the year, up from 89% in 2013.  Email marketing, social media marketing, search marketing, display marketing and mobile marketing top the list of areas for increased spending in 2014.

Shawn Myers, vice president of marketing at StrongView, says "… (though) a strong desire to engage with customers at a more personal and meaningful level… marketers… hampered and frustrated by an inability to access and leverage all the data being generated… Present Tense Marketing requires an in-depth understanding of the customer’s context… at a particular moment in time…”

Survey Highlights (% of Respondents)

  • 40% cite accessing and leveraging customer data as biggest email marketing challenge; 36% lack of resources; 32% developing more relevant engagements
  • 44% have goal to improve engagement; 36% to improve segmentation and targeting; 31% to grow opt-in lists
  • 93% plan to increase or maintain marketing budgets in 2014; 46% plan to increase
  • 52% plan to increase email marketing spend; 46% social media; 41% search; 36% display
  • 57% of email lifecycle marketing to be focused on loyalty;  53% on welcome; 50% winback
  • 59% plan to integrate email with social; 55% with mobile; 23% with display
  • 55% of marketers chose Facebook as the most valuable social channel; 18% LinkedIn; 10% Twitter; less than 5% named Pinterest, Google+ or Instagram as most valuable

The survey goes further to uncover the biggest challenges to leveraging data, with quality (22%), latency in its availability to marketers (16%) and lack of strategy (15%) topping the list. Though challenges surrounding the use and understanding of data were highly noted in responses to almost every question, more specifics include:

  • Data access and the ability to specifically leverage web behavior (34%)
  • Shopping behavior (25%)
  • Customer sentiment (23%)
  • Demographics (53%)
  • Purchase history (49%)
  • Web behavioral data (31%)

Email and search marketing remain the principal avenues for marketers to reach customers, with social media marketing continuing to rise in importance. More than 50% of marketers plan budget increases in email and 46% in social marketing in 2014; 41% of marketers plan to increase search spending, up from 39.8% in 2013.

Respondents reported intentions to increase spending for automated email programs such as lifecycle (34%) and triggered events (38%). Of the marketers who plan to increase spend on lifecycle email marketing programs, 57% plan to focus on loyalty programs with 50% indicating a focus on win back efforts, and 53% on welcoming new customers.

While 46% of the respondents say that the investment in social channels overall to engage customers is set to increase in 2014, marketers overwhelmingly name the largest social platforms as their most valuable channels.

  • Facebook ranked among the top three by 81% of marketers
  • Twitter by 67%
  • YouTube by 48%
  • LinkedIn by 44%

Pinterest, though, noted as valuable to some degree by more than 85% of respondents, was listed as a top three most valuable channel by less than 13% of marketers. Highly popular Instagram was only ranked in the top three by 10% of marketers, though 86% saw some value.


"Marketers' Budgets Up, But Cite Inability to Leverage Data."  Jack Loechner. MediaPost, 01/07/14.

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