New research from brand-focused tech firm Rakuten Marketing reveals U.S. marketers anticipate at least 30 percent of their 2018 marketing budgets will be lost as a result of poor strategic planning and/or incorrect channel focus.
The firm’s new report, What Marketers Want in 2018: Five Strategic Opportunities for 2018, polled over 1,000 marketers across the U.S., United Kingdom, France, Germany and Asia-Pacific (APAC) and found a common fear of budget waste as ecommerce continues to expand globally.
In addition, top concerns for U.S. marketers in 2018 include:
- Proving the value of marketing—44 percent of U.S. marketers stated this as a threat in 2018.
- Establishing a positive perception of marketing as an organizational discipline—42 percent of U.S. marketers expect this to be a threat in 2018.
- Managing consumer expectations and ensuring brand safety/protecting reputation—41 percent of U.S. marketers stated both of these factors as a threat in 2018.
- GDPR and e-privacy laws were considered the lowest threats to U.S. marketers in 2018.
Additional insights from the report show marketers are shifting 2018 budget priorities for content, holiday sales periods, and social media. For U.S. marketers, investment priorities include video, with 68 percent stating this as a priority, written content (63 percent), and image-led content (58 percent).
Responses to the Rakuten survey were based on four respondent profiles that factored workplace persona, geography, and position level or responsibility. Marketer profile definitions are as follows:
Experienced data analysts focused on marketing legality and audience engagement accuracy. These marketers work with legal issues and marketing data and analytics and pride themselves on their data interpretation skills (23 percent globally). Architects make up two percent of U.S. respondents.
Marketing optimization specialists value measurement and thrive on driving performance from insights. They view customer sensitivity among their best skills (21 percent globally) and make up 11 percent of U.S. respondents.
Influencer specialists and old school networkers who focus on relationships internally and externally. Advocates tend to identify with a wide range of marketing skills but are likely to focus on storytelling (11 percent globally), customer sensitivity (17 percent globally) and creativity (32 percent globally). Advocates make up 32 percent of U.S. respondents.
Marketers who leverage new technologies and prioritize winning new authority for marketing within the organization. They view channel management (11 percent globally) and creativity (38 percent globally) as their strongest skills and make up 55 percent of U.S. respondents.
U.S. marketers expect to allocate 20 percent of their budget to social media marketing; 19 percent to search engine optimization (SEO); and 18 percent to display advertising. Social media is expected to have the highest budget allocation with Facebook investment reaching $124k, followed by Instagram with $94k, Twitter with $74k, and LinkedIn with $70k.
Marketer interest in expanding their marketing campaigns to foreign markets varies widely across all respondents, with Europe (42 percent) and Asia-Pacific (43 percent) topping the list for marketers. The U.S. follows a close third with 36 percent of respondents indicating investment interest here. For U.S. marketers, 33 percent designated the United Kingdom as their top foreign expansion target, followed by France (31 percent) and Singapore (27 percent).
Non-Western sales periods will also take precedence with U.S. marketers. Twenty percent of U.S. respondents state plans to prioritize Chinese New Year in 2018 and 15 percent indicate Singles’ Day will be a priority. Forty-six percent stated plans to keep marketing campaigns constant throughout the entire year.
“The fact that more than half of U.S. consumers are Advancers demonstrates the need that marketers in this industry must continuously adapt,” said Rakuten Marketing president Stuart Simms, in a news release. “To keep up with rapidly changing consumers, marketers are exploring new technologies, exercising creativity, and managing multiple channels to create better consumer experiences in 2018.”