Morning Ketchup: Analyzing Your 2014 Marketing Budget

Welcome to Bridgeline Digital’s news-wrap post on our brand new Digital Engagement blog named “The Morning Ketchup.” It's a play on words, because we're clever like that. We’ll be periodically checking in with relevant (and entertaining) pieces found across the Internet about Content Management, Marketing, SEO Strategy, and General Business News. Our hope is this will become part of your morning, a detour you enjoy as you sip on your third cup of coffee before noon. And fear not, this space is not a one-way street: We want you, dear reader, to interact with us; tell us what you like, what you hate, and what you want more of in the comments section and on Twitter and on our Facebook page.

Ahh, September! A time of change and transition -- possibly best represented by the foliage that comes with fall's emergence. As a kid, we're reminded of those dreadful, ominous (yet, retrospectively funny) Staples commercials -- the one with the father jovially shopping for school supplies, while his kids, looking like they just found out Santa Claus doesn't exist, morbidly look on. 

For Digital Marketers, September still resonates the same way. "Why?" you ask. BECAUSE IT'S BUDGETING SEASON! In 2014, some are asked to do more with less, while others are the father, grinning as they pick and choose what direction to take their marketing efforts in the upcoming (fiscal) year. 

Daniel Burstein, writing for our good pals over at Marketing Sherpa, analyzed their recent study on what strategies marketers plan to allocate more funds toward, maintain the same budget, or decrease in 2014. Below is the Marketing Sherpa chart detailing the findings. Our takes are similar to Daniel's, but let's take a gander and try to gain a few insights, shall we?

Marketing Budget 2014 - Marketing Sherpa Study


This should come to no surprise, but old media and dated ploys has long since been dead. The modern CMO (finally) has realized this much. And, by and large, budgets reflect this recognition. 

(We're not sure why this happened. Rumors suggest it has something to do with this crazy Internet fad -- turns out, it may have staying power after all -- but we haven't corroborated with sources...) 

Anyway, look at the bottom of the chart -- what do you see?

1. Broadcast advertising - Hmm, it appears, the ascent of On-Demand programming, podcasts, and the like has deteriorated the value of leveraging the radio and television medium. A fourth of respondents plan to lower their budget in this area.

2. Print Advertising - Look, we're romanticists -- we love 'The Newsies' as much as the next person -- but we think the hit the New York Times is taking on their pending sale of the Boston Globe should tell you everything you need to know about the newspaper and magazine industry. "There's now way the newspaper industry could have seen this coming" -- Said No One. Ever.

3. Direct Mail - UGH. Print Advertising's ugly cousin. PAPERLESS WORLD, you guys. 

3. Telemarketing - We get it, everyone does it, but in a world of personlization, its effectiveness leaves plenty to be desired. Plus, shouldn't this fall under the sales budget???

INSIGHT #2 Content Remains Kings, Drives the Rest of Your Allocation

It makes complete sense that CMOs are increasing their Content Marketing budget. Without content all company's have is intangible ideas. So, we're seeing a trend -- Content Marketing not only resides in the front of the pack, it actually drives everything else in your budget. Maybe your producing more blogs, webinars, whitepapers, eBooks -- whatever. Let's dive deeper into what we mean...

Think about these findings: Following Content Marketing, we see Landing Page Optimization to convert leads (from said content), website upgrades to improve user experience (and how visitors consume said content), Social Media (to broadcast said content), and SEO, Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, and Email Marketing (which is all driven by said content). 

Yes, in 2014, Content Is (still) King and it's also the bloodline of everything else.

INSIGHT #3 Marketing Is Truly Digital (SIGH OF RELIEF)

I mean, finally, amirite???? 

In 2014, we can say, with certitude, that Digital Marketing is now marketing. This is what happens when a trend stops being a trend and starts becoming just the way things are

You'll notice all the digital tactics are garnering an increase of budget from at least 40% of respondents, and the most it drops off is from PPC advertising (at 9%), which could be attributed to the fact that Google has allegedly planned to commandeer "cookie" tracking, along with Apple

Meanwhile, the old hat habits fluctuate and, in some cases, flounder across the board. 

What are you spending your marketing budget on? What do you wish you had more funds for? Let us know on Twitterour Facebook page, or in the comments section!

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