Marketers outline where they plan to spend their increased digital budgets in 2014


By Chris Lee

With digital budgets set to either increase or stay the same for the vast majority of marketers, the key digital marketing objectives for 2014 have been laid out in a study released this month. Driving increased conversion rates (47 per cent) and increasing and improving brand awareness (46 per cent) are two clear priorities for the year to come for marketers, according to the ExactTarget 2014 State of Marketing report.

The three main metrics used to track success by ExactTarget’s 2,500 respondents in 2014 will be conversion rates (67 per cent), engagement rates – such as opens or clicks (64 per cent), and return on investment (61 per cent).

Spending will increase in data and analytics, marketing automation, email marketing and social media marketing, according to ExactTarget.

Respondents across almost every level of the organisations questioned identified brand awareness as a top priority, indicating that brand is still a core focus, even beyond the chief marketing officer (CMO), ExactTarget argued. With this in mind, the company expects to see marketers using social media, mobile and personalised web experiences to better boost their brand with customers during 2014.

Data mining will be key

Mining data is also a key consideration for brands in 2013, said Kyle Lacy, Senior Manager of Content Marketing and Research for ExactTarget.

“2013 saw the number of platforms, channels, devices and applications we use to communicate continue to grow. As a result, we finally began to see the data collected from this array of outlets drive better marketing experiences,” he told NMK.

More data enables marketers to build better one-to-one customer experiences and cut through the communication clutter, ExactTarget argue in its report, so it is now more important than ever to have a plan and process around collecting that data.

“As we cross over into 2014 the myth that marketers don’t ‘get’ big data can be truly laid to rest,” Lacy added. “According to the 2014 State of Marketing report, not only does the global marketing community understand the value of data analytics, but it has pledged to make it the number one priority for increased investment in digital marketing this year.”

As consumer and business audiences continue to fragment, this hyper-connected climate makes getting closer to customers more challenging and rewarding than ever before, Lacy believes. The drive to prioritise analytics sets the most innovative and forward-thinking CMOs apart from the rest, with CEOs increasingly turning to them to drive business strategy.

“The marketer’s leadership role will grow because they’re closest to the customer – they own the teams, the tools and the technologies to connect their company with customers,” Lacy added.

In today’s ‘age of mobile’, CMOs are faced with not only grappling with multiple channels, but engaging with customers in a tailored, personal way, Lacy believes.

“With all these new channels of engagement opening before them, marketers are planning to invest in digital to connect with their customers in entirely new ways across every channel and every device,” he concluded. “In fact, two thirds of marketers around the world plan to increase investments in digital marketing in 2014, highlighting the importance of creating personalised experiences on every channel and every device.”

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