SoDA Survey Finds Marketing Industry Optimistic about Digital Growth in 2009

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Please see the following release announcing the results of the inaugural Digital Marketing Outlook survey from the Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA). The survey points to the growth of the digital marketing industry with over 81% of survey respondents planning to invest the same or more in digital marketing this year. The full survey summary can be found at the link below and additional data can be provided upon request. Please call with any questions. Link to full survey summary: http://SoDAspeaks.com/dmo/

On balance the evidence suggests that despite the drastic effects of the crisis on marketing in general, the digital arena is suffering less

The Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA) today released the results of the organization's inaugural Digital Marketing Outlook survey. Results point to acceleration in the growth of the digital marketing industry with over 81% of survey respondents planning to invest the same or more in digital marketing this year despite the economic downturn.

"Digital is a proven, measurable medium that allows brands to really engage with consumers," said Jason Bangerter, education chair for SoDA and CEO of Struck, a full-service, award-winning advertising agency. "With this economy, it's not surprising that businesses are choosing to spend their money on digital media programs that allow them to interact directly with potential customers and provide measurable results."

91% of agency respondents, including both traditional and digital agencies, believe that there will be the same or more digital marketing work in 2009 than in years past.

"Interviews with marketers revealed that while digital marketing budgets are staying intact, decision makers are cautious to pull the trigger on new projects. Many marketers are still waiting to make sure additional budget cuts are not required, but we expect projects to kick off as we head into second quarter," said Paul Lewis, Director of Operations, SoDA.

Marketers also revealed that while long-term projects are being delayed, spending that drives immediate results such as paid search placement is seeing only modest reduction. When asked what the focus for their digital spending would be in 2009 both brands and agencies cited digital infrastructure, such as websites, as one of their top digital priorities. This indicates the recognition of the influence that a brand's digital ecosystem will increasingly have on their customers and prospects.

Brands are not only being cautious about spending, many are also reducing their digital work forces. 40% of brands have recently decreased staff. Only 16% of brands are currently hiring digital personnel compared to 47% of agencies. This potentially indicates a move by brands to outsource more digital work.

"On balance the evidence suggests that despite the drastic effects of the crisis on marketing in general, the digital arena is suffering less," said Chad Ciesil, President of WhittmanHart Interactive and a SoDA member. "At SoDA we believe this is because of the growing importance, accountability, and effectiveness of digital marketing, and this survey reflects the advertising industry's confidence in its ability to weather the storm."

About the Survey
This study was conducted by SoDA and has received 559 responses to date from professionals at digital advertising and marketing agencies, traditional advertising agencies, service providers in the digital industry, as well as those who work with corporate brands and freelancers. As part of its mission to instill and educate on industry best practices, SoDA will track the survey results over the next 6-9 months and report updates to the survey participants on an ongoing basis. To view the complete survey results or participate in the survey visit, http://SoDAspeaks.com/dmo/

About SoDA
Envisioned by CEOs of award-winning digital marketing and design agencies, SoDA was established in March of 2008 with the mission to advance the digital industry through advocacy, knowledge sharing education and drive much-needed guidelines. For more information, visit http://www.SoDAspeaks.com.
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