As we’re putting a bright holiday bow on the year that was, most marketers have put some thought into what they need to do in 2018. Here’s what some see as the most important digital marketing goals, challenges, tactics and more for the year ahead.
This data comes from Ascend2’s “2018 Digital Marketing Plans” survey summary report based on responses from 271 marketers in November 2017.
93% Increasing Digital Budgets
One key finding of the Ascend2 research is that digital marketing budgets are overwhelmingly going up. A combined 93 percent of respondents are seeing budget increasing at least marginally, and 41 percent are seeing significant increases.
And that’s not so surprising when you see that 94 percent of respondents also feel that digital marketing has become increasingly effective.
Digital Marketing Goals
With those changing budgets, though, marketers goals have remained pretty similar.
The Ascend2 survey pool skews a little bit toward B2B, with 43 percent of respondents saying they’re primarily B2B marketers, 35 percent B2C and 22 percent marketing to both equally. That breakdown is important as we look at responses to the “most important marketing objectives,” which put lead gen and sales revenue at the top of the priorities list.
Many of those objectives are also on the list of greatest challenges to these marketers in 2018.
Most Effective Digital Marketing Tactics
That’s a lot of raw data, and there is more available in the Ascend2 research. What does it tell us?
For starters, I do worry when I see so much more emphasis put on lead generation as an objective than customer experience. CX is on the list, but it’s clearly a lower priority.
Maybe that has to do with the B2B bias, but in 2018, I think it’s going to be critical for both B2C and B2B marketers to emphasize customer experience. We’re seeing experience as a more important indicator of customer success, and repeat business, than simple conversion metrics like lead gen.
When we look at the tactics, we have to recognize social media as a tactic that is seen as both effective and not too difficult to pull off. It jumps right out of that last chart, and is a powerful argument for getting into this tactic if you haven’t already. Compare that to data management, which is seen as less effective and more difficult. (Although I don’t see how you’re doing most of the rest of what’s on that list if you don’t have the data capabilities … Unless marketers are thinking of the data as something the provider handles, which is somewhat the case with social media advertising.)
And finally, I see marketing technology coming in as less effective than it is difficult, although only by a few percentages. To me, the tech is essential, much like data, and I don’t think we’re going to be able to get too much further in digital marketing without real mastery of the tech space.
Have you started looking ahead to 2018? If so, how do these results compare to your own analysis? What goals and tactics and more important to you for the year ahead, and most challenging? Let me know in the comments.