Marketing budgets at their most buoyant in five years

Almost two thirds (60 per cent) of companies plan to increase their marketing budgets for the year ahead, compared to 54 per cent last year and 45 per cent in 2012, according to a report published today by Responsys and Econsultancy.

The Marketing Budget's Report 2014, which is based on a survey of more than 600 marketers, compares companies online and offline budgeting across a range of channels and technologies.

The report finds that while 71 per cent of companies are planning to increase digital spend in 2014, only 20 per cent plan an increase in offline budgeting.

Companies are spending, on average, 38 per cent of their total marketing budgets on digital, a 3 per cent increase year on year. However 48 per cent agree that there is ‘little’ or ‘no distinction' between digital and traditional budgets.

Content marketing was identified as a key driver of investment, with 74 per cent of companies planning to spend more in this area, a 4 per cent increase from 2013.

Econsultancy research director Linus Gregoriadis said: “It is great to see companies continuing to invest heavily in marketing in the coming year, particularly across a whole spectrum of digital channels and media. Content marketing continues to be a red hot area of investment for the year ahead, reflecting the rise in importance of ‘earned media’.”

The report also identifies a greater focus on marketing for new customers, with 34 per cent of companies more focused on customer acquisition, compared to only 18 per cent who are focusing on retaining existing customers.

But Simon Robinson, senior marketing and alliances director EMEA at Responsys, sees this trend as problematic: “By failing to sufficiently fund activities that drive loyalty and lifetime customer value, these companies will remain stuck in this cycle of never ending campaigns, with diminishing returns".

Other trends include a key focus on mobile in 2014, with 63 per cent of companies set to increase mobile budgeting for both mobile marketing and acquisition, while 60 per cent plan an increase for mobile marketing for retention.

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