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Fewer marketers using social networking: Report

Monday, 18 March 2013 | By Michelle Hammond

A new survey shows marketing budgets will grow by 1% in 2013, following growth of 3.4% last year, while the growth of social networking and Web 2.0 is less pronounced than in 2011.


The 2013 Senior Marketer Monitor, conducted by the Australian Marketing Institute and Colmar Brunton, is based on a survey of 259 senior marketing professionals in Australia.


The aim of the study is to understand senior marketer sentiment, priorities, perspectives and challenges in the current marketing environment.


Marketing budgets will grow by only 1% in 2013, the report reveals, following growth of 3.4% last year.


A third (34%) of the marketers surveyed expect their marketing budget to increase in 2013, with these organisations anticipating an average increase of 16%, while 38% expect their budget to stay the same.


Meanwhile, 28% of marketers expect a decrease in 2013, and for these they anticipate an average decrease of 16%.


Nearly half of organisations with zero to 100 employees expect to increase marketing budgets this year, according to the report, with these smaller organisations more positive than mid-sized and larger organisations.


“Most organisation types and most industry sectors are reducing marketing budgets in 2013, with only smaller organisations, professional services and not-for-profit[s] growing budgets,” it said.


Organisations with zero to 100 employees will grow their budgets by 6% in 2013, while those with 101 to 1,000 employees will reduce their budgets by 1.7%.


There is also a great deal of variation at an industry level when it comes to the outlook for marketing budgets, the report said.


The media and communications (13%) and manufacturing (19%) industries have the lowest proportion of organisations increasing budgets in 2013, while professional services has one of the highest (45%).


The top marketing priorities include measures to increase sales, maximising efficiency of marketing expenditure, and focusing on more profitable market segments.


“Overall, there was slightly more emphasis on increasing sales and less focus on efficiency and brand-building compared with previous years,” the report said.


According to the report, there have also been shifts in the communication channels used by marketers.


“The use of social networking and Web 2.0 as a communication channel continues to grow, but the growth in this channel is less pronounced than in 2011,” it said.


“The popularity of viral marketing has decreased somewhat with less intending to use this channel more, compared with previous years.”


In 2011, 77% of the marketers surveyed used social networking and Web 2.0 applications. Last year, that figure fell to 66%.


Similarly, 32% of marketers used viral marketing in 2011, compared to 23% in 2012.


It’s worth noting marketers’ use of all communication channels has decreased, suggesting they have become less important to businesses in the current economic climate.


The use of online advertising fell from 64% in 2011 to 56% in 2012, while only 34% of marketers engaged in public relations last year, compared to 47% in 2011.


The use of direct marketing fell from 48% in 2011 to 38% in 2012, while mobile and SMS fell to 30% last year, down from 46% in 2011.