Whenever the economy takes a down turn, marketers will inevitably ask the question, "How would a recession impact my budget?" This worry is especially true for more experimental forms of marketing, such as certain forms of interactive marketing and social media.
At Forrester in recent weeks, we on the Interactive Marketing team have asked this question too -- of our analysts and a handful of interactive marketers. The results of this analysis -- and our tips for how interactive marketers can protect their budgets and survive (even thrive) in a downturn -- are in a new piece "Strategies For Interactive Marketing In A Recession."
For the past 3 weeks, Forrester has sponsored a B2B marketing survey on Web 2.0 and Customer Marketing Program Trends. So far, we have received 185 responses from marketers like you. I thought you might like to see a preview of one of the more interesting findings.
When it comes to Social Media use and Web 2.0, B2B marketers I talk with usually raise the topic of blogging. They want to know "who is doing it well?" and "what benefits have they achieved?" In the survey, when we asked "Which statement BEST describes your corporate experience with blogging so far? (Please select one response)," B2B marketers told us:
I was just talking with Suresh Vittal on my team about how to project interactive marketer investments in technology. In some cases in the US Interactive Marketing Forecast, we include technology investments in our projections of marketer spend on a given channel (for example, email marketing spend includes investment in email message delivery). But for the most part, the IM forecast is based on current and projected media spend.
So the conversation Suresh and I had was to think through enough assumptions, to estimate how much marketers invest in technology.
I had a recent holiday travel experience which got me thinking about loyalty programs. Here's what happened:
I traveled home to see my family in Nebraska on American Airlines, Forrester's preferred airline and the airline where I have all my miles and am currently a Platinum Advantage member. Due to a delay on my return connection out of Chicago, I didn't land back in Logan until about 12:30am on 12/26/07.
In getting off of the plane, I dropped my hat and did not realize I was without it until I was already at baggage claim. Of course I could not go back through security to look for the hat, so the security agent indicated I should ask the baggage attendant for some help.
I explained what had happened to the baggage attendant, Linda, and she immediately indicated that there was nothing she could do. I continued to try to explain that I was sure my hat was between the gate and security and just needed some help finding someone to retrace my steps. I'm not sure if she wasn't listening or didn't care, but she indicated I was providing her "improper information" and she could not help me. I mentioned that I was an AA Platinum traveler in hopes that that might help her come to my aid. In response to this information she replied, "I don't care who you are or how much you travel."
I got an email last week from a marketing firm that was different than most of the briefing requests I get. This firm, Milk Media, partners with dairies to place branded advertisements on the back of the individual-sized milk cartons served at lunch time in schools around the country.
Interesting to me, is that the email (see below) calls out how similar companies have been chastised by the FTC for marketing to kids in a controlled environment. Milk Media, it claims, is an a-ok marketing environment because milk promotes a healthy lifestyle.
I wanted to take just a moment of your time to introduce you to MilkMediaand their unique niche marketing with Milk Rocks!
1) It overlapped with channels I was already sizing. For many marketers affiliate spending includes a portion of their search marketing budget.
2) It is often funded as a channel effort, rather than as a media buy. I also learned that for many marketers, affiliate marketing is actually a sales or distribution channel, rather than a medium where they can place ads. This made it not an accurate piece for me to include in the report, which I intended to match as closely as possible to the interactive channels that actually make up firms' interactive marketing budgets.
If you've never been to Barcelona, you may not know that the local language here is actually not Spanish...it's Catalan, the native language of Barcelona's region: Catalunya. Children here are taught in Catalan, and while many also learn Spanish and likely English, I've run into several locals who speak only Catalan. And then of course, since the attendees at our event are from all over Europe, there are dozens of languages filling the air during networking breaks and one on one sessions.
I mention this because it struck me that as the world becomes a smaller place (easier to travel anywhere you like, similar businesses/foods in different regions around the world, even the same pop-culture icons and references), cultures are becoming fiercely proprietary about the things that do define their culture from another: like language. What a perfect thing to establish who is qualified to be a member of a given community? If you speak our language, you must be similar enough to us, and proud enough of our heritage to be in our community. Language then, isn't just a mode of communication; it is also an expression of identity.