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3 February 2014 – Companies will be investing heavily in digital marketing during the year ahead with overall marketing budgets at their most buoyant in five years, according to research published today.

The fifth annual Marketing Budgets Report, published by Econsultancy in partnership with Responsys, a marketing cloud software and services leader, has found that 60% of companies surveyed are planning to increase their overall marketing budgets for 2014, compared to 54% last year and 45% in 2012.

According to the report, almost three-quarters (71%) of companies are increasing their digital budgets this year, while only 20% of companies said they plan to increase their offline marketing budgets.

Organisations are spending, on average, over a third (38%) of their total marketing budgets on digital, which is a 3% increase from last year’s figure.

The research also found that the most buoyant area of investment is content marketing, with 74% of companies planning to boost their spending for this discipline for the year ahead, up from 70% a year ago.

As well as established channels such as email and SEO, mobile also continues to be a key focus for 2014, with a high proportion of companies planning to increase their budgets for both mobile marketing for acquisition (63%) and mobile marketing for retention (60%).

The propensity for companies to be more heavily focused towards marketing for new customers (rather than trying to keep existing ones) is even more pronounced this year, with those more focused on acquisition up from 31% to 34%. Retention as a stronger focus for investment is down from 24% to 18%.

The report is based on a survey of more than 600 marketers, mainly in the UK, carried out by Econsultancy in December 2013 and January 2014.

Econsultancy Research Director Linus Gregoriadis said: “It is great to see companies continuing to invest heavily in marketing in the coming year, particularly across a whole spectrum of digital channels and media. Content marketing continues to be a red hot area of investment for the year ahead, reflecting the rise in importance of ‘earned media’.”

Simon Robinson, Senior Marketing and Alliances Director EMEA, Responsys, commented: “It is a matter of concern that a third of companies still plan to increase focus on acquisition marketing, while just 18% will focus on retention strategies this coming year. By failing to sufficiently fund activities that drive loyalty and lifetime customer value, these companies will remain stuck in this cycle of never ending campaigns, with diminishing returns.

“But I am optimistic that in 2014 we will see more adoption of marketing orchestration, in which marketers optimise a customer’s entire journey with a brand, not individual interactions. In fact, 59% of companies report that they will focus more on the customer than on the campaign during 2014, while 79% will focus on trying to break down internal silos to better integrate and orchestrate marketing efforts. This data is encouraging.”

Other findings from the report include:
-) The majority of responding companies (55%) agreed they are focusing on earned media to get more value from marketing budgets.
-) The lines have become blurred between traditional and digital budgets, with almost half (48%) of companies agreeing there is ‘little’ or ‘no distinction.’
-) While paid media continues to get the lion’s share of budget, 55% of companies agreed they are focusing more on earned media this year to get more value for their money.
-) Encouragingly, three in five (59%) plan to focus more on the customer than on the campaign in 2014.
-) The vast majority (85%) of organisations indicate that they are working towards delivering cohesive customer experiences, rather than focusing on standalone campaigns.

Get this report

The full report is available on the Econsultancy website here:
http://econsultancy.com/reports/marketing-budgets

The report is available to Econsultancy subscribers, or on a pay-per-view basis.

For more information about this report, contact:
Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director, Econsultancy
linus.gregoriadis AT econsultancy.com
+44 (0) 207 269 1450

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Published on: 2:16PM on 3rd February 2014