Time to Startup!

The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.

Marketing Budgets to Rise in Coming Months

Published on May 26, 2011

Summary

Read 'Marketing Budgets to Rise in Coming Months' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
Key economic indicators have been something of a mixed bag in recent weeks, with strong showings of private sector jobs gains marred by higher unemployment, or greater consumer confidence muddled by rising commodity prices. However, one thing seems to be clear, businesses - both large and small - are moving to increase their marketing budgets. A recent FedEx survey observed that 55 percent of small firms are planning to invest in new marketing strategies this year, compared to 42 percent last year. More recently, New York-based business services firm Access Markets International Partners found total small business marketing budgets in the U.S. are expected to grow by 4 percent next year. Specifically, the report noted that total marketing spend in the sector will reach $36 billion in 2012. Perhaps surprisingly, print is expected to lead the trend, likely due to the fact that it is a more expensive investment than search engine marketing or social media, the latter of which was projected to grow by 35 percent next year. "Much of small business online marketing behavior is reflective of what they are accustomed to doing offline," said Jacqueline Atkinson, research manager at AMI. "For instance, instead of printed directories, many U.S. SBs are now buying listings in online directories - while the source is new, the strategy is the same." "Internet advertisers, who offer a departure from traditional models, will have to do a lot of  hand holding to capture a greater proportion of U.S. SB online spending," Atkinson added. The AMI report compares to another recent study by Worldcom Public Relations Group, which found more than half - 54 percent - of surveyed companies plan to increase spending on social media this year. Eighty-three percent of companies currently use social media to communicate with target audiences, and 89 percent believe the channel will become valuable over the next year. "Digital communities are an integral part of any B2B marketing strategy," said Cortney Rhoads Stapleton, chair of the Worldcom B2B Practice Group. "The survey shows that nearly all companies recognize the importance of social media, but many are still unsure how to use the medium to humanize their brand." Despite indications of an improving marketing sector, such trends usually follow consumer sentiment, as promoting a brand becomes less important if consumers are unwilling to spend. With high energy and food prices, it remains to be seen how marketers will choose to reach a more frugal and recession-weary customer base.