U.S. businesses share some commonalities relative to how they are focusing their efforts and spending their marketing dollars these days.
Here are some trends we are seeing:
- For the past several years, a majority of companies have been focused primarily on marketing to their existing customers – in order to maintain brand loyalty and sell them additional products and services. Perhaps because of the fear of a recession, we are seeing even more emphasis on penetrating existing markets and deepening customer relationships.
- However, at the same time that companies are doubling-down on keeping their existing customers, they are also predicting a spending shift toward new customer acquisition over the next few years, driven by increased investment in more product innovation.
- A recent survey showed that a majority of U.S. companies are shifting their marketing spending from international to national, as a result of more protectionist policies abroad.
- A majority of businesses expect their overall marketing budgets to increase, but at a slow, steady pace. Many say they are benefitting from being able to use more cost-efficient digital technologies and less traditional (expensive) advertising. They see digital outreach as more agile in addition to being less costly. Digital advertising began dominating more traditional advertising methods in 2011 and has continued increasing every year since.
- Companies are engaging more with their customers on multiple electronic devices and are getting better at customizing their marketing messages to fit the particular device (computer, phone, tablet, etc.). They are realizing that one size doesn’t fit all, and they are adjusting their various platforms as appropriate.
- While social media marketing has slowed a bit recently in terms of the overall marketing spend, many companies believe they have “gotten smarter” in terms of how to best deploy social media strategies in direct support of business growth. Therefore, while they maybe spending a bit less money on it, they believe they are getting a greater return on their investment.
- Most businesses are continuing to prioritize brand building as an important part of their marketing mix. They realize that it’s a “noisy” marketplace out there, and in order to compete effectively in the long term, they have to establish solid brand loyalty.
- Smart companies are increasingly letting data drive their marketing decisions. It is easier and more efficient than ever to employ marketing analytics research in order to determine exactly how to reach and motivate customers.
We believe these trends will continue into the new year, so it’s probably a good time to assess where your business stands relative to how other successful companies are growing their brands and marketing their products and services.