Marketers 'stampede' towards content marketing as digital growth slows

By Rosie Baker | 19 February 2014

After sustained double digit growth, digital spending is set to stabilise this year and there will be a “stampede” towards content marketing this year as top marketers shift budgets to reflect the current appetite for engaging content.

Overall marketing budgets are expected to rise 3.4% this year – a threefold increase in expectations on last year when budgets only increase 1% on average.

That's the view of the Australian Marketing Institute.

The latest Senior Marketer Monitor carried out by the Institute and Colmar Brunton found 40% of marketing directors expect to raise their overall budget this year, with 38% expecting it to remain flat.

Of those expecting to boost spend, an increase of 18% is expected.

A fifth of marketers expect to reduce their overall budgets.

Content marketing, which was included in the survey for the first time, “entered the charts with a bullet” said Crowe, as half of marketers surveyed said they planned to do more content marketing this year than last.

Two thirds expect to spend more on social channels, 52% will spend more on online advertising.

Spend on digital channels has stabilised this year. It's still in growth, but it's slowing. On the flip side the decline in intent to spend on traditional channels has halted as marketers reported plans to increase spend on radio and pay-TV advertising for the first time since the survey began five years ago.

The “dramatic variances” between where marketers are spending more or less have settled this year, said Mark Crowe, Australian Marketing Institute CEO. Where in 2009 a large number of marketers were planning to spend less on traditional channels like print, radio and TV and more on new media - that gap has narrowed in 2014 as the market matures.

Fewer marketers are planning to increase their use of mobile than in previous years, A quarter plan to use it more, but that's down on 30% in 2012 and 46% in 2011.

Marketers are feeling more positive about the role and influence of marketing in Australia (77%) and also within their organisation (78%). Those feeling 'very positive' has increased to 37%, which Crowe says shows a strong position for the discipline.

“We have seen a sharp increase in content marketing – while not surprising it’s still quite extraordinary”, said Crowe. “Meanwhile, the use of social networking and web 2.0 as a communication channel continues to grow, but spending has stabilised.”

AMI surveyed more than 260 senior marketers in November and December 2013.

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