Despite the recession, interactive marketers are looking to innovate more than ever. Here's what iMedia Breakthrough Summit attendees say is on their radar screens.
The first victim of a down economy is quite often innovation -- but that doesn't seem to be the case in the interactive marketing industry. In fact, many brand and agency buyers continue to express interest in exploring new marketing channels, and they're backing up that interest with budget allocations.
Nearly half (45 percent) of the assembled brand and agency buyers surveyed at the iMedia Breakthrough Summit in Coconut Point, Fla., reported that they were most interested in learning about social media opportunities during their time at the innovation-focused event. About one-third (32 percent) of those that responded to the survey, which was sponsored by Collective Media, cited mobile as being the platform of greatest interest to them.
Brad Berens, chief content officer of iMedia Communications Inc., expressed pleasant surprise in attendees' overwhelming interest in social media as a marketing platform.
"Social media is a two-way platform," he said. "I would have predicted that people would be more interested in online video because it can be more of a push medium than social media. So the fact that we have a lot of agencies and brand marketers who are interested in having conversations with their customers, rather than talking at them, is good news."
When it comes to marketing through social media, many brand and agency buyers are already incorporating the channel into their marketing efforts, albeit loosely. While the vast majority (78 percent) of brand and agency buyers reported that they were scraping together or appropriating social media dollars on an as-needed basis, only 6 percent reported having a formal social media strategy and budget in place.
"What that tells me is we still have this two-way interaction with customers happening at the very end of the campaign process," Berens said. "The fact that 78 percent of agencies and brand marketers are scraping together or allocating social media dollars as needed is a very happy thing. But it does mean that it's not presumed that social media is going to be part of a campaign."
On the mobile side, agency and brand media buyers expressed significant optimism with regard to the channel's potential to become a major marketing platform in the near future. Sixty-nine percent of brand and agency buyers said that they think mobile will achieve real scale within the next two to three years, while 15 percent said that it's already happening this year.
As Berens sees it, this is exciting news. "It means that they're going to be prepared to move budget soon rather than eventually," he said. "It means that mobile is not like soccer, which is always the sport of the future. Mobile is not always going to be the platform of the future."
With regard to online video, despite the fact that less than one-quarter of all summit attendees indicated the channel as their point of greatest interest, only 8 percent of agency and brand buyers indicated that they don't think online video is right for their company. In fact, an impressive 39 percent of agency and brand representatives attributed the staggering growth of online video advertising to the fact that they can innovate more easily and less expensively with online video than elsewhere -- a notion that bodes well for the channel's continued growth.
Read on for the full results...
Click here to download survey results.
Lori Luechtefeld is editor of iMedia Connection.