Sunday, January 11, 2015

2015 Marketing Budget Trends by Channel

This month, I'm featuring posts that describe a few of the many published predictions about what will happen in marketing during the coming year. In my last post, I discussed a recent webinar by the Aberdeen Group regarding what best-in-class B2B marketers are planning to focus on in 2015.

This post deals with marketing budget and spending trends in 2015. In late November and early December of last year, StrongView Systems surveyed business leaders from a wide range of industries regarding marketing spending plans for 2015. The StrongView survey generated 377 responses, mostly from business leaders affiliated with North American companies. About 34% of the respondents were from companies with 1-50 employees, while 28% were from companies with more than 1,000 employees. The survey did not provide a breakdown of B2B vs. B2C respondents, but it appears that both were represented.

The survey respondents were generally optimistic about their marketing budgets for 2015. Fifty-four percent expect their budgets to increase in 2015, and 40% expect their budgets to remain at 2014 levels. Of those respondents who believe their 2015 marketing budgets will grow, 47% expect the increase to be between 5% and 10%, while about a third of the respondents expect budget increases of more than 10%.

The StrongView survey also asked participants about their spending plans for ten specific marketing channels or techniques. The table below shows the percentages of respondents who plan to increase and decrease spending on each channel or tactic.

These survey results reflect the continuing divide between digital and traditional marketing channels and tactics. As the above table shows, most of the planned increases in spending are directed to digital marketing techniques (e-mail marketing, social media, mobile marketing, etc.), while most of the planned budget decreases will target non-digital marketing channels and tactics, such as print advertising and radio/television advertising.

While the shift to digital is undeniable, a closer look at the StrongView survey results reveals that some non-digital marketing channels and tactics are holding their own. For example, the percentages of respondents who plan to increase and decrease spending on trade shows and events are almost equal. And while 22% of respondents plan to decrease spending on direct mail, 17% of respondents said they will increase direct mail spending in 2015.

The StrongView survey didn't specifically address spending on content marketing, but several other recent research studies have indicated that many companies will significantly increase their investments in content marketing in 2015.

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