Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
October 2, 2008 8:11 PM

Good News In Bad Times For Digital Marketing

65% of Chief Marketing Officers and marketing executives said that because of the troubled economy more of their money will go toward digital/interactive marketing than before.

In the same breath, 59% reported a decrease in their traditional advertising spend.

“In this economic climate, marketing executives are seeking accountability and measurable results,” said Mike Iaccarino, CEO of Epsilon. "Data-driven marketing is an increasingly important component of corporate marketing campaigns as senior marketers employ sophisticated segmentation strategies to recruit and retain customers.”

All of this taken from the recently released, CMO Survey by Epsilon (PDF download). You can catch the top-level news byte from Marketing Charts here: Economy Shrinking 65% of CMO Ad Budgets, Money Shifts Toward Digital. As opposed to yesterday's Blog posting, You Are Expected To Have A Social Media Presence, this survey was done in August 2008 and included 175 US CMOs and marketing executives "of some of the largest brands in the nation. Some 27% of respondents work at companies with $10 billion or more in annual revenues last year."

When General Motors made the announcement earlier in the year that they would be shifting half of their three billion dollar advertising budget online, many advertising pundits felt it was an act of trying to get "more bang for the buck." When, in reality, GM had done their homework and learned that people were now making the final purchase decision for an automobile online. To further validate this, a senior Ford marketing executive recently told me that they don't call them "test drives" anymore. They're called "confirmation drives." More and more people are going well beyond basic online research when looking at purchasing a new vehicle.

Reading posts on the economy and how it will affect marketing is almost as depressing as watching Wall Street. Digital Marketing could well be one of the main industries that will benefit from this downturn, and when things turnaround (they always do), we can all be hopeful that Digital Marketing will lead the brand and advertising strategy. While Iaccarino from Epsilon points to "accountability and measurable results" as the driving force, Marketers tend to be into trying newer channels as well - perhaps in hopes of finding more ROI.

More from the CMO Survey:

- Social computing (including word of mouth, social networking sites, viral advertising, etc.) was the most popular emerging channel with 42% of marketing executives expressing interest in adding it to their marketing mix.
- Blogs were the second-most-popular emerging channel, with 35% of marketers expressing desire to use them and 19% already using them.
- Almost one-third of CMOs mentioned podcasting as an area of interest, with 31% interested in adding it to their marketing mix and 18% already having done so.
- 29% are interested in Mobile Devices (phones/PDAs) and 22% have added them to their marketing mix.

Overall, it's a silver lining for a very dark cloud cluster... one that doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon (bailout or not).

Here's the bigger question:

If advertising dollars do shift to the Digital Marketing channel, do you think that it will stay that way when the economy turns around?

By Mitch Joel