Cover Story: Media Usage Forecast 2012
and New Blood
The return to acquisition isn't proof that consumers and businesses are spending at pre-recession levels. In fact, many answers to the open-response question cited continuing recession-level spending as the main consideration in their plans.
For example, one B-to-B marketer says, "The worsening economy and customer indications that their available budgets have decreased," were key factors in their media budgeting. A marketer identifying as both B-to-B and B-to-C reported "economic conditions in the markets served have improved only slightly. Will take a wait and see approach." Another says, "The ongoing recession is the main factor influencing all marketing decisions."
Then there's this heartbreaking response from a company caught between the low economy and high gas prices: "The continued depressed economy. The escalating price of gasoline. We notice a direct correlation between the cost of fuel and the rate of orders. As gasoline closes in on $4.00 per gallon, we see a 50 percent drop off in sales."
It's fair to say none of our respondents reported customers dumping their wallets into response envelopes.
However, other respondents are looking for answers in new channels and considering that their customers aren't where they used to be. One B-to-B and B-to-C marketer says, "The dynamics of the market are completely different due to consumers changing behavior to new technologies and phenomena." A B-to-C marketer responds, "Our strategy has been to rely entirely on direct mail and email. We are finally beginning to adapt to the visual and electronic requirements of modern times." And another described its whole strategy as a testament to, "The growth of the mobile, social and especially tablet platforms. The efficiency of our email programs and outbound telemarketing. And the ongoing success of direct mail, print and online media."
Not all of these changes were bloodless. Some responses indicate there have been changes at the top, saying that budgets were driven by a "more digital focus by new CMO" or "newly hired marketing staff with expanded skill set." One B-to-B marketer cited "A change in overall marketing messaging, strategy and leadership resulting from seeing preliminary results of 2011's testing of new ideas."