08:00 AM

Study: Grim News For Print, Radio, TV As Marketers Shift Budgets To Social Media And Other Channels

A global study by Econsultancy, commissioned by ExactTarget, an email and personal marketing firm, has found that 41 per cent of marketers will decrease their spending on print and other offline media this year.

The study questioned 1,000 company and agency marketers around the world.

- 28% are shifting their overall budgets to digital in 2010.

- 66% of companies plan to increase online marketing budgets.

- 30% of companies are keeping online marketing budgets at the same level.

- Forecast: 17% increase in digital marketing budgets for: social media, mobile marketing, email marketing, and search.

70 per cent of in-house marketers plan to increase their budgets for off-site social media marketing efforts, using agencies to engage with audiences on Facebook, Twitter and other networking sites.

But according to agency respondents the biggest impediment to digital marketing investment is a general lack of understanding of digital marketing channels. Just under half (48%) of agency respondents cite this as the key reason, which prevents their clients from investing more money in this area.

Linus Gregoriadis, research director at Econsultancy. "Social media marketing is the area where companies are most likely to be spending more money during 2010, but areas such as search engine marketing and email marketing will remain buoyant."

Foremski's Take: It's hardly surprising to see online marketing budgets growing. What is surprising is that the shift to digital marketing isn't faster.

The problem is that digital marketing is a very fragmented area and is becoming even more fragmented as new media channels, such as Twitter, open up. Marketing executives are faced with the daunting challenge of having to manage and measure the effectiveness of many online marketing channels.

The addition of tools and technologies that help target marketing at individuals will increase the complexity of the job. While much is spoken about the benefits of targeted marketing at individuals, little is said about the headaches of managing such programs.

Buying a Super Bowl ad is easy. Launching, managing, and monitoring the performance of highly targeted marketing campaigns across many digital channels is very difficult.

There is a huge amount of data generated by digital marketing. That data is valuable because it holds the keys to greater efficiencies. But that data can also overwhelm marketers with too much information and choices -- freezing decision making.

But that's the reality for today's marketing executives...the CMO of a large company probably has the most challenging job in the C-suite.