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Tracking 2011 Direct Marketing Spend

Date: April, 2011 --

We all like to benchmark against other industry leaders and Target Marketing’s annual survey on media usage helps us do that. Some of the good news in their annual survey shows that in the B2B market media budgets in 2011 remained constant from 2010 for 58% of the companies or increased for 22%. In the B2C market, budgets stayed constant for 47% and increased for 26%. The spending trends are up in both markets. 

There is no doubt that ad spend in the interactive arena is increasing. Nearly 70% of respondents said they would increase their email budget, 64% would increase their social media budget and 52% would increase their SEO budgets. 

For acquisition, the most frequently employed medium is now email (85.5%). Last year’s third most frequently used acquisition tool, social media, has seen its adoption rate leap from 61% in 2010 to 73.6% in 2011, putting direct mail into third place at 69.4%. Mind you these are not “spend” figures, but percentages of respondents. 

Media usage for retention surprisingly follows a very similar pattern. Email is now at the top at 89.3% followed by direct mail at 67.8% and social media at 65.4%. And while email delivers the strongest ROI in B2B for acquisition (32%) and retention (51%), in the consumer market, for acquisition direct mail beats email 38% to 26%, but email at 37% trumps direct mail at 32% for retention. 

So using email and social media together is becoming much more common. Here are some tips on implementing this strategy taken from a series of recent presentations at the Publishing Business Conference in New York City last week.

1. Share! Add sharing tools to your emails. Most email programs have the capability to share through Facebook, Twitter and other sites. Of course, you have to have interesting content in the email and in the destination social media site.

2. Join! If appropriate for your company, give prospects and customers as many ways as possible to interact with your company and/or brand. Perhaps it is simply a "like this" button on Facebook, perhaps it is more complex. (Check out the bottom of this page for what we think is a great example of how to do this...)

3. Be viral! Remember that content forwarded on by friends and other trusted people, such as professional colleagues, can have a substantial impact. Companies that have been successful doing this find that having a forward to a friend box in the message header is very effective. Note the Hellmail landing page nearby. Their emails use a more understated “email this” next to each article. Email This

Newsletter publisher Hellmail of the UK provides an “Email This” tag after each article to enable sharing of its content with others.
4. Make it easy! Whatever you do, test all the links and make it easy. Don't put technological barriers into your email or your landing page that inadvertently keep people out.

5. Try video! The technical tools to add video to an e-mail are now robust and ubiquitous. Normally, you insert a screenshot from your video into the e-mail itself with a link back to a host. In addition, it is now possible to insert a video gif which is an optimized image animation that looks like a video itself. Finally you can also insert the video itself containing audio and video content that plays within the e-mail. The choice will depend on your budget and your audience. And don't use it just because it's pretty. The video must create the appropriate message environment for your target.