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Marketing budgets expected to rise in 2011

Monday, 13 December 2010 | By Michelle Hammond

Nearly half of Australia’s marketing professionals are expecting to increase their marketing budget in 2011, according to a new survey.


The Australian Marketing Institute commissioned market research agency Colmar Brunton to conduct a study of Australia’s senior marketing professionals.


The survey reveals 44% are expecting their marketing budget to increase in 2011 while 35% expect it to remain the same. Of the organisations expecting an increase, an average budget increase of 15% is expected.


In 2010, the use of social networking and Web 2.0 as a communication channel continued to grow, experiencing a 10% increase compared to 2009. Viral marketing is also increasing while traditional channels such as TV and print advertising remain stable.


Viral marketing uses pre-existing social networks to increase brand awareness. It can be word-of-mouth or contained in “informal” channels including video clips, images and text messages.


Of the 104 businesses with less than 100 employees, more than half are expecting to increase their marketing budgets in 2011 while 34% expect to stay the same and 14% expect a decrease.


Almost 60% of organisations in media and communications are expecting an increase, followed by high numbers in professional services, retail and manufacturing.


According to the survey, the top marketing priorities in 2010 included maximising the efficiency of marketing expenditure, measures to increase sales, and focusing on more profitable market segments.


Mark Crowe, chief executive of the Australian Marketing Institute, says small businesses are increasing marketing budgets as a result of the resurgence of larger organisations.


“We’re effectively seeing a flow-on effect in the SME sector and it’s not surprising they’re picking up on that. It’s a good result for the economy as well,” he says.


Crowe says SMEs are starting to take advantage of social networking as they begin to understand it better.


“For small businesses, the challenge is in the diversity of media channels and opportunities. It can be hard for smaller businesses to identify which channels are the most appropriate,” he says.


“Whatever channel you choose, it needs to link back to your strategy, so understand what you’re trying to do.”


“With everything you do, make sure that it’s accountable so that you can gain a better understanding as to how effective it is.”


“The other challenge is striking a balance between the shorter-term focus – making sales – with the longer-term investment in their brand.”


“One relates to cashflow and one relates to effective marketing, which will essentially attract new customers, so it’s very difficult to prioritise one over the other.”


“With regard to their marketing budgets, I would encourage SMEs to source external help because they often don’t have the resources to do it internally.”