Survey: E-mail and digital marketing crucial part of overall strategy

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Datran Media’s fourth annual “Marketing & Media Survey” results were announced today and, according to the more than 5,000 b-to-b and b-to-c agencies and marketers surveyed, 2010 should be a very good year in terms of budgeting, spending and strategy. The main take-away: Digital marketing continues to be a crucial part of overall company strategies, and e-mail marketing in particular still carries a lot of weight.

Respondents, who completed the online survey after receiving it via e-mail or clicking through to it via banner ads, are bullish about their companies’ performance as well as the size of their marketing budgets. More than 73% said they think their own company’s revenues will be up in 2010. At the same time, their commitment to digital marketing is also increasing. About 75% expect the percentage of budget allocated to digital marketing to steadily increase between now and 2014; 18.4% said their digital marketing budget will greatly increase between now and then.

From a strategy perspective, marketers are looking to targeting (77.6% of respondents), customer and audience analytics and measurements (71.2%), as well as retention and loyalty campaigns (63.2%), as the basis of their programs. E-mail list growth, cited by 63.2% of respondents, is also a key strategy for 2010. Least important—cited by only 30.4%—will be building applications for Web 2.0, which seems to be a departure from previous years’ surveys.

However, one constant from 2009: Social media will continue its dominance. Today 72.3% of respondents have a Facebook page, while 72.0% have a Twitter account. About half of respondents think social media will generate quantifiable results for them in 2010, while 37.6% are unsure of its effect.

“People are feeling very optimistic about social media,” said Lana McGilvray, VP-marketing for Datran Media. “People are excited, and there is an intense interest in trying to identify how to monetize social media in the same way as e-mail, which has served as a … digital rock star. And e-mail marketing will definitely be part of that strategy.”

Marketers are still planning on leveraging metrics to optimize their campaigns, McGilvray said. Today, marketers rely on clicks (72%), conversion rate (59.2%) and impressions (58.4%) to track campaign success. “The data in many ways tell us where we should be marketing and who is most responsive,” she said. “Those marketers who aren’t using metrics and measurements are leaving money on the table and not delivering the most recipient-focused version of their marketing message. [Metrics] will be the catalyst for much greater marketing success than ever before.”

However, the metrics that ultimately become most helpful may not be the ones that are in highest use, she said. Demand metrics in particular will take on more importance this year, McGilvray explained. So while, for example, “time spent with media” was only “very important” to 20.5% of respondents today, that may change going forward.

“Today’s most popular metrics were popularized in the context of the Web as a direct channel,” she said. “These metrics do not speak much to the goals of many b-to-b and b-to-c brand marketers,” she explained. “These marketers want to know more about their audiences, what they are spending time with, what compels them and who they are beyond the click.”

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