Marketing strategy must continuously evolve if companies are to keep up with consumer trends. For most, this means tapping into emerging channels as they seek to acquire new customers and spread brand awareness. However, as the New Year's dust begins to settle, it seems more organizations are working to generate increased engagement throughout their current customer base as they look to boost revenue via retention efforts.
According to ExactTarget's "2014 State of Marketing" report, more marketers are beginning to focus their 2014 budgets on incorporating engagement strategies, such as personalized loyalty campaigns, in an effort to sustain customer interest while reducing acquisition costs. The study, which polled more than 2,500 marketers, reveals that, when it comes to lifecycle marketing, driving engagement and revenue has become the primary concern, highlighting the vital role customer relationships play in brand success. While customer acquisition remains a top priority for every organization, marketers understand that their job doesn't end at the opt-in page.
The following statistics explore the current state of marketing, examining the priorities and challenges facing the average marketer alongside predictions for budget spend in 2014:
- Driving higher conversion rates (47 percent), increasing and improving brand awareness (46 percent), and collecting, measuring, and using behavior-based data (29 percent) are the top priorities on the average marketer's 2014 agenda.
- Ninety-eight percent of marketers plan to increase or maintain their spend this year, with data and analytics (61 percent), marketing automation (60 percent), email marketing (58 percent), social media marketing (57 percent), and content management (57 percent) set to benefit from greater spend in 2014.
- According to 65 percent of marketers, driving subscriber engagement is their primary lifecycle challenge, while acquiring new subscribers (58 percent), and developing strong relationships with new subscribers (45 percent) may also create obstacles.
- Conversion rate (67 percent), engagement rate (64 percent), and return on investment (61 percent) represent the top three success metrics marketers rely upon.
- While 68 percent of marketers believe email is the core of their business, 49 percent are sending more than 500,000 emails annually, yet 42 percent rarely or never use responsive design.
- Forty-six percent of marketers believe social is the core of their business. Of those, 86 percent believe social efforts will or do provide ROI, with 57 percent having a dedicated social team.
- Of those marketers using mobile, 80 percent believe this emerging channel does or will provide ROI. Thirty percent of said mobile marketers employ location-based functionality, while 47 percent have an app.
Key takeaway: To truly capture the consumer's attention, marketers will need to boost their understanding of the customer journey in 2014. Increased engagement means companies must know precisely when and where consumers interact with the brand in order to develop a plan that embraces and expands upon what the most popular touchpoints currently offer. Marketers will also need to move beyond email when personalizing customer communications, as social and mobile have the potential to engender loyalty and encourage engagement in real time. With vast competition across industries, marketers must use all available tools to create unique experiences that will both attract and retain customers in an effort to tackle multiple daunting challenges and reduce unnecessary spend.