Cover Story: Media Usage Forecast 2012
Direct Mail and Email
Direct mail and email continue to be the most-used marketing channels. We're not going to go into them at length this year, because not much has changed from years past. Both are used by large percentages of responding firms, they are used extensively for both customer acquisition and contact/retention, and they rate as the highest ROI media.
However, both also have known obstacles, and that's part of the reason marketers are exploring new channels. For example, a B-to-C mailer cited "mail costs, response rate," as the reasons it's "moving dollars to online channels." A B-to-B emailer explains that it has become "harder to get email delivered and opened, so we're looking for other means to reach our target audiences."
Direct mail and email are still the most widely used media, but they don't seem to be where the noteworthy changes are occurring this year.
Social and Mobile
Many responses mentioned social media, and you can see that in Chart 2 (Page 23) showing where marketing allocations are increasing, decreasing or staying the same: Sixty-three percent report they're increasing spending on social media engagement (fan pages, interaction, etc.) and 31 percent are spending more on paid social network advertising. Only 15 percent of respondents don't plan to use social media for engagement.
To put that 63 percent in perspective, only email will see more companies increase spending (65 percent) than social media. In last year's Media Usage Forecast, we asked if social media was becoming the new email—a top digital marketing channel. In terms of this data, it looks like it is. However, it still doesn't appear in Chart 5 as one of top-ROI channels with email and direct mail.
Not as many respondents are increasing their mobile marketing budgets as email and social media. Only 35 percent will spend more on mobile Web and apps than in 2011, and 25 percent are investing more in mobile text/SMS/phone. However, neither of those categories report even 1 percent of companies decreasing those budgets. At the same time, the percentage of respondents who don't budget for mobile marketing is around 50 percent.