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The start of the year is always busy for marketing managers: Marketing plans for 2014 need to be finalised, the final resources need to be allocated and than the execution has to follow. A recently conducted survey by Strongview surveyed 387 business leaders in regards to their planned marketing budgets, priorities and challenges for the upcoming year.

Digital marketing budgets on the rise

After years of stagnating marketing budgets, the survey reports that the majority of respondents will maintain (47%) or increase their budget (46%). Asked where they will invest this budget, the three main areas were found to be email marketing, social media search and display advertisement. Surprisingly business leader see less value in mobile marketing, which dropped of to the fifth place of investment priorities. Not so surprising was to find that traditional offline channels are decreasing. One in two respondents indicated to decrease spending in 2014 for direct mail campaigns and print advertising.

Big Data - The challenge for 2014

Data is driving many of the decisions where to invest marketing budgets. Increasing availability of customer data opens ample opportunities for marketers. However, the survey found that respondents see challenges particularly in managing the data available and integrating it across different channels.

In particular marketers have difficulties with leveraging user data collected about web-behaviours, shopping behaviour and customer sentiment. The survey revealed that the top reasons for not being able to leverage this data sufficiently are a lack of data quality, a lack of data collection strategies and accessibility issues.

The biggest focus for marketers in 2014 with regards to big data is to increase the relevancy of customer engagement. The key objective will be to improve engagement and form stronger customer relationships through investments in lifecycle marketing programmes.

Improvement of CRM programmes and cross channel management in combination with sophisticated data collection strategies offers unprecedented opportunities for meaningful, in-depth personalisation and therefore sustainable competitive advantage.

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