It’s a competitive world out there with ambitious businesses each seeking a secret recipe for a successful ‘marketing mix’ to help them win business and out compete competitors. So, to help those who may be a little lost or unsure, we thought it would be useful to share what our clients are doing and the marketing trends that are proving popular in 2018.
The first question is typically, how much should I spend? Research suggests that since the 2009 financial dip, companies have been steadily increasing their marketing spend and this looks set to increase again in 2018.
As a gauge of how much to spend, marketing budgets are often compared to an organisation’s total budget, with smaller firms typically spending a little more to steal a march on their more established rivals. Depending on the service or product provided, the percentages can vary with businesses selling products to consumers typically spending on average 13.4%, compared to 10.4% for businesses selling products to other businesses. Across all industries, companies were found to be spending 11.4% of their available budgets on marketing.
Now that budgets have been determined, where should the monies be spent? Forrester Research predicts that in 2018, the average firm is expected to allocate 41% of their marketing budget to online activities with this rate is expected to grow to 45% by 2020.
Ensuring that businesses achieve a good search engine ranking will capture the largest single share of online spend with online display adverts taking the second largest share. The spend on social media will continue to grow at nearly 20% each year until 2021, reflecting the changes in Facebook’s algorithms and the likely impact on other platforms.
When choosing which social channel to spend with, much would depend on who you are looking to target and what content you have to share. As always, good content will remain king but Facebook is expected to remain number one on spend, with 90% of social media users utilizing the platform. Instagram will continue to grow, from a 32% penetration to 47% by 2020. The other channels, namely Pinterest and Twitter, will continue to have relatively low penetration, peeking around 33% of users by 2020.
The research also highlights that in 2018, at least half of all respondents planned to increase spending on social media marketing, content marketing, video and online lead generation principally at the expense of traditional TV and radio advertising.
Despite all the figures on advertising spend, whether your customers, suppliers, employees and regulators chose to buy your product or service, or to even be associated with your brand / business, will continue to depend on your reputation and how you’re perceived against your competitors. Having PR support remains a critical, and affordable, way to build your reputation, credibility and to differentiate yourself from competitors.
A PR or communications team is also well placed to act as a central hub to marketing activities, bringing consistency to marketing communications and operating at the centre of the strategy due to their unique ability to manage the messages across the marketing platforms. Let’s also not forget what I feel is the key ingredient – having clear objectives, a desired outcome and the right team in place to deliver.
It’s clear that a diverse range of ingredients is needed to achieve the right mix. The good news is that market confidence remains high and evidence suggests that businesses who invest in their marketing will be best placed to reap the benefits of their efforts, particularly in the context of a growing economy in 2018.