What channel are marketers using the most in 2013?By Sheera Eby, Executive Vice President Strategy & Client Services, Jacobs & Clevenger
Are marketers relying more on email or social media? How many marketers feel they have mastered integrating multiple channels? What is the greatest challenge marketers are facing today? We recently conducted a study among marketers to learn about the biggest trends in marketing. Here are the top seven trends that we found and their associated implications. 1. Email is the number-one tactic used by marketers Almost all marketers are using email, with close to 90% of marketers stating that they are using email. Interestingly, slightly more than 50% report that breaking through cluttered inboxes is their number-one challenge regarding email effectiveness. So while the use of email is increasing, marketers seem to recognize that driving email engagement is getting more and more challenging. Close to 50% of email marketers also state that generating click-through is a strong second challenge. The key implication is that marketers need to be sure they are doing everything possible to optimize their email communications. Consideration should be given to testing subject lines, “friendly froms” and other mechanisms to improve open rates as well as applying techniques to optimize performance. 2. Marketing communications integration is still a work in progress About 40% of marketers said that their marketing efforts are integrated across web, social media, email and direct channels. With ownership spanning across several functional areas in many organizations, it’s not surprising this surfaced as one of the greatest challenges that marketers are facing. The reality is, however, that marketing channels work together. And almost nothing works as a stand-alone vehicle. While direct mail is growing annually, and response rates remain steady, it doesn’t perform on its own. Two out of three people who receive direct mail make a purchase or also engage in a different marketing channel.* While it’s essential to optimize individual channels, it is also essential to deliver a cohesive, integrated experience across multiple tactics. 3. Social media is ranked as the number-one tactic for growth in 2013 In that same study, social media rose as the top channel for increased marketing spend in 2013. It’s clear that social media is an area of focus for marketers going forward. To differentiate your social media efforts, consider integration and segmenting follow-up. Once users engage, leverage behavior to develop targeted relevant communications. This can help transform social media to SCRM. Applying behavioral information to personalize outbound and follow-up communications takes the entire customer experience to the next level. 4. Marketers are struggling with social media measurement While 60% of marketers stated that they measure social media, the actual metrics were evenly distributed among a series of key performance indicators. Furthermore, marketers ranked an ebook on “social media measurement” as their number-one area of interest. This demonstrates that while marketers are measuring social media, there still isn’t a clear decision on the best measurement. Social media measurements should directly align to marketing goals. One of the critical paths to ensuring focus is to tightly define goals. This can include measuring engagement and behavior, such as content read, click-through behavior, social sharing, comments and reviews, or measuring leads and downstream conversions. The further downstream you connect measurements, the greater likelihood you have of tying social media expenditures to metrics the organization values. 5. Mobile optimization of email and landing pages is the number-one mobile application With 78% of mobile marketers saying they are optimizing web pages and email for mobile, marketers appear to be getting on board with mobile trends. According to Google Think Insights, about 74% of users are reading emails on mobile devices. Downloadable apps were the next most widely used mobile tool. A third of mobile marketers also reported their biggest barrier to mobile adoption is having a defined mobile strategy. Defining a mobile strategy starts with determining what role mobile can play in the larger prospect and customer experience. First, thinking through which channels need to be mobile-optimized, and then consideration for how to leverage mobile for driving engagement and transactions. 6. Direct mail is not dead Marketers verify that direct mail is very much alive and effective as a marketing tactic. Direct mail actually ranked as the third most used tactic by marketers. Direct mail is a blend of art and science. 7. Time and resources are the greatest challenge marketers face in creating greater personalization It’s not a surprise that managing time and resources was identified as the greatest challenge in migrating to greater personalization. In multiple research studies and tests, we’ve found that users want relevancy. At first glance, relevancy sounds like it would entail more time and resources. But as you gain understanding of how to motivate engagement and action among groups, relevancy becomes easier. It allows you to focus social activities and messaging against smaller groups. And it enables you to focus messaging into more bite-sized pieces rather than trying to be everything to everyone. Focused efforts tend to help manage execution and enable complex execution in stages. The key trends for 2013 channels continue to include a commitment to email, social media, mobile and direct mail. Did any of these trends surprise you? Let me know what you think. To view the complete CMO Marketing Trends study, click here. Sheera Eby, Executive Vice President of Strategy & Client Services, is responsible for taking on Jacobs & Clevenger’s hardest marketing challenges and responding with unprecedented results. Jacobs & Clevenger is the direct digital agency that specializes in delivering action and response across the entire prospect-customer lifecycle. Sheera can be reached at 312-894-3000, firstname.lastname@example.org.