70 Percent of Small Businesses Plan to Increase Digital Marketing Spend

Seventy percent of small to medium sized businesses polled said they will increase their digital/web-based marketing budgets in the new year.

That’s according to GetResponse, an email marketing software solution serving over 350,000 small businesses, marketers and brands.

GetResponse recently commissioned a study to examine expected digital marketing investments among US-based small and medium-sized businesses in 2017.

The study polled 200 US-based small to medium sized business decision makers at the end of 2016, and also looked into the channels most likely to drive spending. The study findings were eye-opening.

Of the companies indicating in the poll they would increase their budgets, 30 percent said the budget will “increase considerably,” while 40 percent said it will “increase somewhat.”

Projected Digital Marketing Spend in 2017

According to the GetResponse study, 28 percent of the remaining businesses polled said their budget would remain unchanged. Only 2 percent said their digital marketing budgets would decrease in 2017.

“Digital marketing is vital for SMBs and our survey numbers bear that out,” said Simon Grabowski, GetResponse CEO and Founder. “Marketers are investing accordingly, given the substantial return on investment delivered through web-based campaigns.”

Social, Mobile and Email to Drive Digital Marketing Spend

The study also noted that social, mobile and email are poised to drive the spending surge this year. Of the small to medium sized business executives surveyed that projected increased marketing budgets in 2017, 59 percent said marketing on social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter will primarily drive that growth.

The next channel projected to drive digital marketing spend in 2017 is said to be mobile marketing (50 percent) — either app or web-based — followed by email marketing (42 percent).

Other channels driving growth are: video production (28 percent), “search marketing, including paid search” and “content creation and management” (both at 26 percent), “data collection and analytics” and “corporate website maintenance and development” (both at 23 percent), and, “commerce experiences” (16 percent).

Source Small Biz Trends

Content Marketing is the New Branding

Branding isn’t your company name.brands_montage_shadow_emineo media2

It’s not a tag line. It’s not a logo.

Branding is just another name for creating a perception.

When marketers ask, “How do we want to brand this product?” what they’re really asking is how they want their audience to think about that product once it comes to market.

A brand is a promise. It’s an expectation of an experience.

The company and tag line and logo and brand colors only exist to call that experience to mind.

Brands can meet that expectation, exceed that expectation … or in the worst cases, fall short of that expectation.

(By the way, the word product can easily be swapped for service, or blog, or newsletter, or any number of things marketers promote. The underlying concepts remain the same.)

Volvo’s name is synonymous with safety, which makes it the quintessential consumer example.

Cisco’s “Human Network” stands out among business-to-business brands.

Cisco makes products that make it possible for people to be connected, no matter how far apart they may be, geographically. ~ Forbes

The Red Cross is a bellwether among nonprofits, with a brand that literally means help is on the way in times of crisis.

The very essence of brands doesn’t lie within your brand colors or site design, even though those are important.

The essence of a brand lies within its meaning. And words have meaning. Words matter.

Volvo’s meaning wasn’t derived from its logo, or even its product design, but by the constant stream of product reviews that published the data on crash tests year-in and year-out.

The brand was built, over time, by third-party validation communicated through third-party content. What other people said about Volvo created the meaning of that brand. The advertising Volvo did just reinforced that meaning.

The rise of user-generated content

Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, is now famous for having said,

Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003.

As marketers, we try to convince customers and prospects to generate content about our brands. In other words, to talk about us. To create a Volvo-like experience where the meaning of our brand comes from how others perceive us.

How do we inspire people to generate content? To talk about us on Facebook and Twitter, to increase our audience?

Increasingly, we inspire our customers with brand experiences and by publishing our own content.

The uninitiated customer is no more inclined to mention a brand than talk to the shy person tucked quietly in the corner at a cocktail party. If we want our customers to engage us, or our products and services, we have to contribute to the conversation.

Content is currency

Today’s web is an endless 24/7 cycle fed by content and social actions. In this cycle, brands are realizing that content is currency … ~ Bryan Rhoads, global content strategy, Intel

Content is currency — something we trade for our audience’s attention.

That currency becomes more valuable every time it’s shared by someone other than ourselves.

Those shares might be validation. There might be debate. There might be disagreement.

It’s our job to create content worth sharing. How it’s shared isn’t up to us.

If you take a look at this infographic, created by PRWeb, you’ll see an array of content marketing options — each with its own balance of difficulty and value.

Source Copyblogger

content-and-branding-large emineo media