iMedia Summit Survey Shows Marketers Will Focus on ROI Above All

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Results indicate most marketers recombining current resources to get the most out of them and carefully spending new dollars on ROI-Driven new technologies and programs.

it's every man for himself

A survey of the attendees of last week's iMedia Brand Summit in Coconut Point, FL, showed that in these economic times, brand marketers are focusing less on innovation and more on results. There were more than 100 marketers in the room, which included such companies as Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Coca-Cola, American Express, Kimberly-Clark and many other major brands, and 56% of the marketers polled said they plan to "heavy up" on more measurable, ROI-driven strategies, saying "if we can't prove it's working we'll slash it."

About 35 percent of the responders said that they've had cutbacks in their marketing strategies, but they're planning to stay the course without altering their marketing mix significantly, and nine percent said they plan to revert to tactics they are most familiar with, slashing the new and least proven strategies, including digital.

Looking forward, brands said that in terms of customer usage and marketing dollars, the biggest winners in 2009 will be online video (29 percent of brands predicting this media channel as the winner), blogs and social media sites (28 percent), conventional online publishers (21 percent), email (10 percent), ad networks (9 percent) and distributed content (widgets, apps, RSS) in last place with three percent.

When asked about social media, 48 percent of brand marketers said they're already moving dollars toward those channels, while 52 percent said they're personally spending a lot of time on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and others, but not moving any dollars there.

Significantly, 41 percent of marketers said the primary reason for their companies not spending more on digital forms of marketing and advertising is "dependence on TV, FSI and other traditional measures." Corporate culture/political considerations, lack of metrics, lack of creative options and "inertia or fear" were the other reasons for holding back, with 21, 19, 11 and 8 percent respectively picking those options.

Another interesting revelation in the survey was brands' views on collaboration between themselves and their marketing partners. Forty seven percent of marketers said collaboration has improved and 44 percent said there a lot of talk about collaboration but it's "still business as usual". Interestingly, the same question asked of the vendor and publisher side yielded 55 percent saying "it's business as usual," 25 percent seeing an improvement and 19 percent saying "it's every man for himself" rather than "let's work together."

For more information and stats (including the breakdown in opinion between brand marketers and publishers/vendors) please visit http://www.imediaconnection.com/summits/surveys/.

About iMedia Communications:
Since 2001 iMedia Communications has built a reputation for creating industry events that bring together senior marketing executives from the world's largest brands and leading interactive marketing agencies with service provider and publisher partners. The goal: to help build the growth of interactive marketing. These invitation-only summits have become must-attend events as online advertising budgets continue to grow at double-digit speed year-over-year. Based on current online advertising spending estimates from Advertising Age and other sources, iMedia estimates it is delivering access to companies spending more than 70% of the total online advertising market.

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Brad Berens
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