The direct marketing industry must be loud and proud about the tangible business results and ROI direct channels deliver for business, to future proof direct activity throughout 2016 and beyond.
That is the call for action from the head of the IPA’s customer engagement group – AIS London managing director Liz Barnsdale – following the latest IPA Bellwether Report which shows DM channels have become vulnerable to cutbacks.
Internet marketing recorded the strongest upward revision to budgets of all the Bellwether categories at +6.9%, although this is down slightly on Q3’s +7.8%.
Within Internet, spending related to search/SEO also showed a robust performance in Q4 recording a net balance of +5.8%, up from +0.6% in Q3.
Main media, the category which includes TV advertising, recorded some growth (+1.1%) which extends the current period of expansion to two years.
Also showing marginal increases were PR (+0.6%) and events (+0.6%). Declines were, however, recorded for ‘other’ at -12.1%, sales promotions (-7.7%), market research (-7.3%) and direct marketing (-1.7%), a second successive fall following a seven-quarter sequence of expansion.
Barnsdale added: “2015 was a year of evaluation for many marketers. With an increased emphasis on cost effectiveness, budgets came under close scrutiny with ‘more for less’ being the brief in many organisations.
“Direct channels have been vulnerable to cuts as they can demand significant budget, against print, infrastructure and data. However, the continued development of tech platforms to support direct marketers also means costs can be reduced without activity suffering; budget reduction in direct doesn’t necessarily mean a decline in investment in this area.
“Many organisations have seen budgets spread between opex and capex as organisations invest in the tech they need.”
“The rise of email has driven a culture of softer engagement metrics which has turned many direct marketers away from shouting about the tangible business results and ROI their channels deliver for the business. We need to get back to being smarter about demonstrating bottom line results to ensure ongoing investment and growth in this area.”
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