Almost two-thirds of companies are planning to spend more money on marketing this year, a new report has revealed.

According to research by Responsys and Econsultancy, 60 per cent of firms intend to increase their marketing budgets during 2014. This compares with 54 per cent in 2013.

Businesses were found to be particularly keen to put more money towards digital marketing channel. Indeed, the report revealed that while the average firm planned to spend 35 per cent of its marketing budget on digital last year, the figure has since gone up to 38 per cent.

However, Responsys and Econsultancy stressed that the lines between digital and traditional channels are becoming increasingly blurred. In fact, 48 per cent of those surveyed said they believe there is “little” or “no distinction” between the two.

Linus Gregoriadis, research director at Econsultancy, commented: “It is great to see companies continuing to invest heavily in marketing in the coming year, particularly across a whole spectrum of digital channels and media.”

Email and search engine marketing was identified as one major priority for companies this year, while many firms look set to place a strong focus on the mobile channel as well.

Content marketing was flagged up as another high growth area, since the number of firms planning to step up spending on this method has risen from 70 per cent in 2013 to 74 per cent today.

Mr Gregoriadis said: “Content marketing continues to be a red hot area of investment for the year ahead, reflecting the rise in importance of ‘earned media’.”

More than half of the companies surveyed said they are stepping up their focus on earned media  (or free media) during 2014 in order to get better value for money. This is despite the fact paid media is expected to “get the lion’s share of budget” this year.

Responsys and Econsultancy also found that 59 per cent of companies plan to place a greater focus on the customer instead of their campaign over the coming months. Some 85 per cent of respondents said they are aiming to deliver more “cohesive customer experiences” this year, rather than concentrate on “standalone campaigns”.

Simon Robinson, senior marketing and alliances director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Responsys, noted that more than three-quarters of firms aim to support these efforts by breaking down “internal silos” within their organisations. This, he stated, should allow them to make sure their marketing efforts are better integrated and orchestrated.

“This data is encouraging,” Mr Robinson remarked.

“I am optimistic that in 2014 we will see more adoption of marketing orchestration, in which marketers optimise a customer’s entire journey with a brand, not individual interactions.”

However, he pointed out that while many firms are planning to place a greater focus on acquisition marketing this year, they must not lose sight of the importance of implementing retention strategies.

Mr Robinson added that sufficient funding must go towards activities that “drive loyalty and customer value”, as this will deliver better returns.

6 in 10 companies plan to increase their marketing investment in 2014, Econsultancy

Posted by Robin McCrink