Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tech Marketing Budgets Up for 2012

Digital, content marketing and lead-generation top priorities. More positive indicators for economic recovery

According to new findings from IDG Research Services, two-thirds of the technology marketers surveyed said they expect their budgets to rise next year with digital programs capturing half the spend. Live events are expected to garner one fourth (24%) of tech marketers’ budgets with the remainder spread among print, broadcast and other media.
Our experience is that tech marketers tend to pave the way for marketers in other industries who have long sales cycles and who need consistent, high-value touch points with multiple decision makers.

What are tech marketers’ goals this year? Lead generation topped all digital budget categories with almost 27 percent, followed by display/banner at just under 20 percent and search at almost 19 percent.

What is the most important campaign metric? Researchers say click-through rate is the most important factor in campaign success with cost-per-engagement and interaction rate almost equal in importance.

Top 5 spending priorities? Content marketing, which includes white papers, case studies, videos, custom websites, video and white papers, is among tech marketers’ top five spending priorities for 2012:

--71 percent will be investing in collateral
--61 percent will be investing in webcasts/virtual events
--59 percent will be investing in videos
--55 percent will be investing in research
--54 percent will be investing in content marketing or custom programs

Our Take? Tech marketers are historically a good bellwether for any mature industry with a long sales cycle. We expect those in financial services, pharmaceutical, legal, insurance and other professional services to follow tech marketers’ lead.

NOTE: When asked about the biggest challenges in producing marketing content, approximately two-thirds of the marketers indicate they will outsource one or more projects involving content creation, creative development, ad unit creation and online production/services.

More signs that modest economic rebound is likely to stick

Here’s some more optimistic news that came across our radar this week:

-- The National Federation of Independent Businesses said its index of
small business attitudes rose in November for third straight month—7 percent more small business plan to expand their payrolls in the next three months, than plan to cut them.

-- The number of workers voluntarily leaving their jobs hit a 2-year high: The Labor Department reported this week that a record 1.9 million workers resigned their jobs in October.

-- Fed policy makers this week said they plan to keep short term interest rates near zero through 2013. Retail sales up for sixth consecutive month and gas prices down or holding steady in most parts of the country

One millionth mobile app just released

Apps shrink the programs that were once available only on a desktop PC and make them usable on smartphones and mobile devices. Experts say the pace of new app development dwarfs every other kind of media—about 15,000 new ways a week to check stock trades, restaurant reviews, sports scores, directions, traffic, videos, articles and shop. Back in 2008 there were less than 10,000 apps available according to Mobilewalla. Five years ago, building an app for a phone meant going through the carrier, dealing with hardware, QA issues and inconsistent user experience. Now there’s a world of more powerful devices, higher quality networks and high-resolution cameras.

Our Take: More and more of your target customers are unchaining themselves from their desks and you better be mobile optimized—not only your creative, but your strategic mindset as well.

Consumers and businesses ARE spending money—they’re just being pickier about how they spend it and with whom they spend it on. Your target customers have never been better armed with purchase information and nothing sells itself anymore. No matter how talented your sales team; you won’t win in the new post-recession landscape without great marketing and customer support to back up your promises.

Happy Holiday from all of us here at HB Publishing & Marketing Company. Looking forward to working with you again in 2012. Let’s make it a great year.


Monday, December 05, 2011

Be Ready for Surge in Pent Up Demand

While we’re seeing some encouraging signs on the Euro zone crisis, the U.S. jobless front and the U.S. financial markets, these are fickle indicators which should be taken with a grain of salt. If you’re a business owner, B2B marketer or media owner, we have some more solid signs of optimism for you to sink you teeth into.

Car sales surge

Auto sales in the United States climbed 14 percent in November as lower gas prices and a wider availability of Japanese models helped the industry achieve its highest selling rate in more than two years, automakers and analysts said last week. Chrysler was up 45 percent over November of last year, Ford was up 13 percent and GM 7 percent.

Cyber Monday

Meanwhile, ComScore, reported that online shoppers spent $1.3 billion on Cyber Monday, a 22 percent increase from last year, at that time the biggest online shopping day of the year. IBM Benchmark said online spending had climbed 33 percent. What’s more, a National Retail Federation survey found that 14 percent of shoppers said they would use mobile devices to shop, up from 7 percent last year.

Technology spending for business in midst of fastest transition ever
The International Data Corporation, whose technology analysis and predictions influence a lot of corporate purchases, foresees the creation of a new high-technology industry in the convergence of mobile devices, social networking, and cloud-based computing and data storage. As a result, the company says in a new study, many industry giants will scramble to sustain relevance, and some upstarts will achieve leadership positions or be purchased.

Frank Gens, IDC’s chief analyst, who led the study, said, “The incumbents are facing a huge transition.”

Spending on the new technologies will reach nearly $700 billion, or about 20 percent of the $3.5 trillion in hardware, software, and services spent on information technology worldwide, IDC said. What’s more, researchers said spending on the new technologies is growing six times that of traditional computer servers and personal computers, and by 2020 will be 80 percent industry growth.

If the IDC predictions hold true, the tech industry could be undergoing its fastest-ever transition. Earlier transitions, like the move from mainframe and mini computers to personal computers and client-server technologies, led to the rise of giants like Oracle and Microsoft, and the downfall of older stalwarts, like Digital Equipment Corp. and Wang Laboratories.

This time will be no different, Mr. Gens said, adding: “Hewlett-Packard will be challenged. Microsoft, Intel, SAP, RIM, Oracle, Cisco, Dell – they are all facing the next transition, competing to be around in 2020. At least a third will fade away.”

Mobile devices

Mobile devices, which earlier this year outshipped personal computers worldwide, will in 2012 generate more revenue than PCs for the first time, IDC said. Shipments of mobile devices will outstrip PCs by two to one, and 85 million mobile applications, or apps, will be downloaded. More money will be spent on mobile data networks than on networks tethered by lines.

The rapid transition to mobile, driven by an explosion of tablet computers, will challenge both traditional computer software companies like Microsoft and beneficiaries like Apple, which is seeing the dominance of its iOS operating system challenged by the open source Android operating system developed by Google.
“By 2013 we’ll know who the leaders are,” Mr. Gens said. “Android will be there, iOS will be there – will Windows 8 put Microsoft there? By the end of the year we’ll know if putting a PC operating system onto mobile was a good idea.”

The increasing number of people and machines online will additionally create an explosion of digital data. IDC said that the amount of data stored in 2012 would increase 48 percent from 2011, to 2.7 zetabytes, or 2.7 billion terabytes. By 2015, the firm said, the total will be 8 zetabytes.

Recommended Reading

No matter how old you are or what stage of life you’re in, we’d like to recommend David Brooks’ recent NY Times editorial series Life Reports.

You can draw your own conclusions, of course, but as marketers and innovators, two things really grabbed us. First, when people take stock of their lives, most regret the risks they DIDN’T take, not the ones they did take. Second, you should measure people by the progress they make in their lives, not by the natural talents they possess.

OUR TAKE: Now if the time of year when many of us reflect on where our businesses and personal lives stand relative to where we thought they’d be a year ago. It can be a gut-wrenching exercise. Just remember that no matter how you measure it, make sure you’re using the right metrics to make your assessment. Also, take time to reflect on everything that DID go right, not just things that came up short.