The Economic Downturn Is Accelerating Digital

Under Pressure
Last week the Center for Media Research (account required) posted a study by Epsilon that revealed some insight as to what 175 CMOs and marketing executives are doing in a rough economy.  While nearly all CMOs and marketing executives in the study agreed that “a tough economic period is precisely the time when marketing plays a key role,” a majority (65%) said that spend on advertising as a whole will decrease.  A key insight, however, is that 63% of the folks surveyed also see an increase in spend on digital/interactive marketing.  Nearly a third of those surveyed work at companies with greater than $10 Billion in annual revenues last year.  Wow.
Key Factors
Key factors in the shift, according to the study, are accountability and data-driven, measurable results.  59% of those surveyed indicated a decrease in traditional marketing spend.  The beauty of online and interactive marketing efforts is the amount of data you can capture.  Half of the group already uses data-driven marketing techniques, and a third use “sophisticated modeling tools to analyze existing customer behavioral, preference and demographic data.” 
Step on the Gas
Many pundits have forecasted shifts from traditional to new media.  Forrester Research also surveyed 235 marketers in Q3 2007 and the major result was an expectation of new media (social media, SEM, mobile, online video, interactive ads, and even email) to increase in effectiveness over the next three years*.   That study was before recent market conditions, which have put an increased burden on marketers to get the biggest bang for the buck.  If you can’t measure it, can you really show ROI?  The market conditions right now are accelerating the “burden of proof” on the investment dollars.
Now What?
For those interested in social media and why so many companies are paying attention, here are some more statistics from the survey: 
  • Social computing (including word of mouth, social networking sites, viral advertising, etc.) was the most popular emerging channel with 42% of marketing executives expressing interest in adding it to their marketing mix
  • Blogs were the second most popular emerging channel: 35% of marketing executives want to pursue blogs and 19% already use blogs
  • Almost one-third of CMOs mentioned Podcasting as an area of interest: 31% are interested in adding Podcasting to their marketing mix and 18% already have.
  • Mobile devices also elicited interest: 29% are interested in Mobile Devices (Phones/PDAs) and 22% have added them to their marketing mix
For those of us looking to help companies with their efforts in interactive and social media, there should be many opportunities to lend a hand.
* Source: Forrester Research Q3 2007 US Interactive Marketer Online Survey
Photo credit: benmcleod via Flickr
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