Tech marketers to boost spending next year, focus on digital

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About two-thirds of technology marketers plan to spend more on marketing in 2012 than they did this year, according to a global research report released by IDG Research Services. The report, “Media Insights 360: Audience and Advertiser Perspectives,” found that marketers planning to boost spending will do so by about 3.5%. “All things being considered, right now we're not seeing any softness,” said Matthew Yorke, president of IDG Global Solutions. He cautioned, however, that the European debt crisis may affect the global economy. “The caveat is who knows what's going on in Europe,” Yorke said. If a full-blown crisis emerges in Europe, “You're going to see an immediate retraction [in marketing spending],” he said. In the absence of a financial meltdown, the 274 technology marketing executives and agency professionals who responded to IDG's online survey in August said that 50.1% of their spending would focus on digital tactics in 2012. Event spending, at 23.9%, was the next most popular tactic, followed by print (13.9%) and broadcast (5.1%). As to digital spending, marketers said they would invest 26.6% of their budgets on lead generation. Online display advertising was next (19.6%), followed by search (18.8%). Click-through rates continue to be an important measuring stick for tech marketers, with 80% of respondents emphasizing the metric. Cost-per-engagement (59%) and interaction rate (55%) were also considered important. The survey found that content marketing was a critical area of spending for tech marketers, which, Yorke said, is related to the importance of lead generation for marketers. “There's an interconnectedness here,” he said, “because good content helps drive leads.” Marketers said the top five areas in planned spending for content marketing for next year will be: collateral (71%), webcasts/virtual trade shows (61%), video (59%), research (55%) and articles/features (54%). The survey also confirmed the twin rise of social media and mobile spending. Almost every respondent (95%) said they engaged in some form of social media marketing. “More and more, business is moving that way,” Yorke said. The study indicated that mobile marketing spending was also on the rise, with 64% of respondents saying that would engage in some form of mobile marketing in 2012. Marketers plan to use a variety of mobile marketing tactics, including display advertising on mobile-optimized websites, mobile search, advertising in an app and mobile ad networks. Yorke characterized mobile spending as in an experimental phase but said he expects it will be as widespread as social media spending within a year or two. “Social and mobile are interconnected,” Yorke said. “Those are two worlds colliding.”
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