SUMMARY: You get two charts this week because two trends we’re examining have been moving in lockstep for some time in marketers’ eyes. As economic forces affect planning and budgets, cuts for offline and brand tactics seem to be accelerating.
The first chart shows budget predictions across a variety of tactics that have been grouped in either the ‘brand’ or ‘direct marketing’ categories. For example, online display ads are grouped with print as brand, and direct mail is grouped with email, as direct. Both categories look to suffer in coming months, but the pain is sharper for brand tactics.
The second chart looks at those same tactics through an offline vs. online lens. Here, we see an even more pronounced difference. Only 12% of marketers predict increases to traditional budgets compared to 31% who expect online increases. More importantly, perhaps, this roughly balances out those predicting reductions. There’s more good news for online marketing, as larger companies are somewhat more likely than the average to plan increases as budget is reallocated from more expensive offline efforts.
Over the last several years, pressure has mounted on marketers to accurately predict, measure and optimize tactical results. This trend has pushed the industry toward direct and online answers. The question for most marketers isn’t whether to participate in these trends – they likely were already – but whether to allow economic forces to accelerate or change their strategy.
Key takeaway: Direct tactics don’t exist in a vacuum –brand efforts support them. That support can be especially important during an economic downturn, when brand advertising can underscore the stability of an organization. Further, a downturn creates a buyer’s market for brand impressions offline and online. This price flexibility gives opportunistic companies a chance to enhance their market position while many organizations play a waiting game.
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