Economy Isn't Marketers Biggest Concern Anymore, Study Finds
The Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) Quarterly Business Review for the first quarter of 2011 has found new inhibitors to the general performance of direct and digital marketing campaigns. Turns out, marketers biggest concern isn't the economy, as it was in previous years, but a lack of customer analytics, targeting capabilities and the rising cost of campaigns.
On a scale of one to five (one being not inhibiting and five being significantly inhibiting), the general economic condition received a 3.0 average score from the 216 survey respondents, compared to 3.3 in the fourth quarter of 2010, 3.5 in the third quarter of 2010 and 3.7 in the second quarter of 2010.
The rising cost to execute a marketing campaign scored an average 3.1 and gained the most concern among marketers when compared to last year's fourth quarter (2.9). Also scoring a 3.1 was insufficient customer analytics and targeting capabilities, the same score the category received in the fourth quarter of 2010.
"After three long and challenging years, it would appear that marketers are once again being motivated by priorities and considerations that are not grounded primarily to economic upheaval," said Jonathan Margulies, vice president of Winterberry Group, which teamed with the DMA for this study, in a press release. "Nonetheless, it’s important to acknowledge that anxiety has been replaced by caution."
If marketers biggest concern is lack of customer analytics and targeting capabilities, one would think that would be their biggest priority for 2011. The report revealed however that the leading priority for marketers this year is the general demand for digital marketing investment and activity and a better understanding of the needs of multichannel integration.
Other key findings from the report include the following:
- The vast majority of respondents (83.7 percent) found their investment in direct and digital marketing either remained steady or grew when compared to the fourth quarter of last year.
- Forty-one percent of respondents reported higher revenues in the first quarter of 2011 versus the fourth quarter of 2010.
- Over a third of marketers (37 percent) and nearly half of suppliers (43 percent) noted improved profitability compared to the first quarter of 2010.
- Sixty-seven percent of marketers and 52 percent of suppliers had unchanged staffing levels in the first quarter of the year from the fourth quarter of 2010.