Print and Marketing Budgets are Rebounding

If you’re noticing that your competitors seem to be producing more print and marketing materials than they used to be, you’re probably right. According to Target Marketing’s 2011 Annual Media Usage Forecast survey, marketers’ budgets have stabilized and they are starting to spend again. That means they’re updating marketing collateral, adding QR codes to posters and displays, printing more sell sheets, and ramping up their volume of direct mail. How will you respond?

According to the survey, 50.1% of respondents expect their 2011 direct response media budgets to remain the same as 2010. Compare that to last year, when 43.5% of respondents reported flat budgets, and to 2009, when just 40% did. According to Target Marketing, this is the highest percent of flat budgets ever seen in this survey.

Marketer’s Budgets are Growing

Not only has the tide in marketing budget declines been stemmed but, increasingly, marketers’ budgets are growing. In fact, 28% of respondents say they are expanding their media budgets this year; only 16% report decreases. This is down from 29% reporting decreases in 2010 and 35% reporting decreases in 2009. Things are turning around.

In the 2011 survey, there is not a single media category that shows more companies decreasing spend than increasing. And while that may seem like a trivial detail, it’s the first time we’ve been able to say that since 2007— yet another sign of stability in direct marketing media usage.

Spreading Dollars Around

Not only are companies focusing more on their outbound print and marketing, but they are also spreading those dollars around. Target Marketing found that marketers are choosing “an eclectic mix of multichannel direct marketing” that appears to be marketing’s “new normal.” This means everything from banners to subway posters to catalogs, as well as social media and mobile.

What does all this mean for you? It means that it’s time to really think through your print and marketing budget and how you are allocating your dollars. It may seem self-serving for us to say that you should be spending more money on print, but this is the stark reality: if your competition is becoming more visible, you need to keep pace.

This reality exists in each individual marketing channel your customers are using. You don’t want to cover your email “bases” and leave your print channel unprotected; or cover your social media channel and leave your out-of-home channel vulnerable to the competition.

You should be doing a marketing and competitive assessment on a regular basis. You need to be sure that you’re keeping pace with — if not exceeding — what your competitors are doing. Customer perception is fragile. Visibility is one area where you don’t want to be left behind. If you need some advice, talk to us. We can help.