Email Marketing and Social Media Are Top Areas of Investment in 2012

StrongMail, a leading provider of interactive marketing solutions for email marketing and social media, today announced the results of its “2012 Marketing Trends” survey, which provides unique insight into how businesses plan to budget and prioritize marketing dollars in the New Year. Conducted in November 2011, 938 business leaders participated in the global survey.

Survey Highlights

  • 92% plan to increase or maintain marketing spend in 2012
  • 60% plan to increase email marketing budget; 54% social media; 37% mobile/search (tied)
  • 45% cite data integration as primary email marketing challenge in 2012; 43% lack of resources/staff; 40% content management
  • 48% cite increasing subscriber engagement as top 2012 email marketing initiative; 44% improving segmentation/targeting; 32% growing opt-in email list
  • 68% plan to integrate email marketing with social media; 45% with mobile; 17% with search

Marketing Budgets Remain Healthy; Email and Social Media Attract Increased Investment
Email marketing (60%) and social media (54%) were cited as the top two areas for increased marketing spend. According to the survey, 51% of businesses plan to increase their marketing budgets in 2011, and another 41% plan to maintain current levels. Only 8% of respondents plan to decrease marketing budgets, which is a slight increase over the 7% reported in last year’s survey. Other areas ofincreased spend included mobile and search, which are tied at 37%. Direct mail (28%) and tradeshows (23%) are top targets for decreased spend.

Subscriber Engagement is Top Email Marketing Priority; Data Integration is Top Challenge
The top email marketing initiatives for 2012 are increasing subscriber engagement (48%), improving segmentation and targeting (44%) and growing opt-in email lists (32%). Data integration is key to achieving these top priorities, but it is also identified as the primary email marketing challenge in 2012 (45%), followed by lack of resources (43%) and content management (40%). These opposing data points represent an opportunity for email service providers to fill the gap with relevant services.

Marketers Focus on Integrating Email Marketing and Social Media
More than two-thirds of businesses plan to integrate social media andemail 2012, versus 44% for mobile and email. The strong ties between email marketing and social media are also emphasized by the 47% of businesses that plan to increase investment in using email to drive growth in their social media channels, such as corporate Facebook and Twitter pages. The next popular areas of investment are batch promotional (44%) and newsletter (39%) programs, followed by real-time lifecycle marketing programs (35%), with an emphasis on winback (68%) and welcome (59%) programs.

Marketers Unclear on Value of Mobile Marketing
More than a third of businesses plan to increase their investment in mobile marketing programs such as mobile apps (30%) and SMS alerts (20%), but there is a lack of consensus on the primaryvalue of this emerging channel. Building customer and loyalty (35%) was identified as the top benefit, followed by expanded reach (29%) and awareness building (28%). However, this is offset by a similar percentage still trying to figure it out (24%) and a smaller percentage citing no value at all (7%).

“While email marketing leads the pack in terms of increased of investment in 2012, the data also reveals that marketers need to overcome key challenges around data integration and resource constraints,” said Christopher Marriott, vice president of agency services at StrongMail. “Whether managing and optimizing existing email marketing programs or enabling integration with social media and mobile, there is a real opportunity for full-service email marketing providers like StrongMail to help companies get the most out of their interactive marketing investments in 2012.”

Survey Data
Full survey data is available at:

About the Survey
The StrongMail “2012 Marketing Trends Survey” was conducted in conjunction with Zoomerang. The poll, which gathered feedback from 938 business executives in a wide range of industries, was conducted from Nov. 16 – 29, 2011.

For more information on email marketing trends, tips and best practices, visit our Email Marketing Insights blog.

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