Smart agencies need to empower businesses to more effectively leverage the expected increase in digital marketing, driven by new social media, over the next year, a new report claims.
Key findings from a survey of chief marketing officers and senior marketing professionals directly responsible for managing both their digital agency and their organisation’s digital marketing budget include the fact that confidence in digital marketing remains strong during the current economic climate.
Some 61% of participants stating that their budget has stayed the same or risen over this period. Over half (56%) of the respondents stated that they expected their digital marketing budget to increase in 2009.
Respondents also voiced agreement that new media/social media channels are becoming more critical, with a majority (74%) stating that these will take on a greater focus in their overall interactive strategy.
With digital media investment on the rise and new media/social media programs taking on greater importance, validating these investments is more critical than ever. However, nearly a quarter of respondents (22%) were “not confident at all” in their agency’s ability to track campaigns across multiple digital channels in real-time.
This, and the ongoing economic pressure, is prompting almost half (42%) of brands to part ways with their current digital agency.
“While the marketing world is finally beginning to see the value of new media channels, a majority of their efforts are spent creating compelling, eye-catching campaigns and then getting them out the door,” said Nigel Vaz, head of Sapient Interactive Europe, which carried out the survey.
“Leading brands require what I like to call a smart agency—a team that possesses a complete new media skill set that is equally dedicated to creating buzz as it is to delivering insights into the campaign’s performance and fine-tuning it over time.
He added, “Those agencies with the ability to execute on both sides are the ones that have the recipe for social media success.”
The component of a live digital marketing program that was seen as delivering the best results at this current time was search (36%), followed by email and social networking (19% each) and digital advertising (10%).
If a reduction in overall marketing budgets forced UK marketers to decrease spending in one area of the marketing programme, unsurprisingly, they would choose print advertising (49%) followed by radio advertising (14%).
Significantly, digital and social media were seen as the least likely to get cuts, getting just 2% of the votes each.
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