good-newsIs it really good news for marketers?

After 3 years of declining enthusiasm among Marketers, 2014 is finally looking like a much more positive year for marketing spending.

Following the 2008 recession, marketing activity contracted – and rightly so.  Marketers were afraid to spend, and staff cutbacks dominated the news.

But surprisingly, even after 3 years, Marketers were still not enthusiastic about increasing spend levels – in fact since 2011, we have seen steady declines in their zealousness for “somewhat” or “significantly” increasing spending in the coming year – until now.

In our latest survey (The 2014 RSW/AgencySearch New Year Outlook Survey) half of all marketers plan to increase their marketing spends this year (50% of Marketers expect to increase “somewhat” or “significantly” their marketing spends in 2014 – as compared to only 38% in 2013, 41% in 2012 and 2011).

Marketers That Expect to “Somewhat” or “Significantly”
Increase Marketing Spending in Coming Year

2014: 50%
2013: 38%
2012: 41%
2011: 44%

It is certainly very positive to see more Marketers intending to increase spends in 2014…but what it means competitively is that Marketers are going to have to step up their game if they want to remain competitive.  Just doing the same old thing – the same way – isn’t going to cut it long-term.

As noted below, more Marketers are looking to drive more dollars into digital, social, and search platforms – more so than traditional media like Print and TV.  This doesn’t mean that more dollars will be allocated in these new media than in traditional media – it just means more attention and focus will be placed there in 2014 than in years past.

So what does this mean for you, the Marketer?

What it means is two things:

  1. If you’re not active in the digital, social, search space, you really should think about getting there.  Just because your customer base isn’t on Facebook doesn’t mean there is real value in putting together a smart and strategic social and digital ad program that can build awareness and credibility for your brand – and in the end, motivate your customers to seek your business over competing businesses.
  2. If your agency isn’t pushing this, shame on them.  We just picked up a new search for a smaller Food Company in Chicago.  They spend about a $1M per year on marketing and have been working with the same agency for the past 4-5 years.  They came to us because their agency wasn’t pushing it.  They weren’t coming to the table with new ideas and progressive, strategic thinking.  To them, “new media” was more about Facebook pages and “likes” than it was about creating a well-integrated strategic program that delivered across traditional and new media channels.

So step back and give it some consideration.  Look at what others are doing in your category.  It’s easy to do.  Look at the agencies’ sites – those used by your competitors.  You might be amazed at how “under-developed” your agency really is.