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Some 54% of companies intend to increase their overall marketing budgets in 2013, up from only 45% in 2012, according to the Marketing Budgets 2013 report by Econsultancy and Responsys, which also noted planned increases in both digital and traditional marketing spending. This article is copyright 2013 The Best Customer Guide.

Perhaps surprisingly the report paints a picture of very buoyant conditions for marketing investments for the rest of this year, both for overall and digital marketing budgets. Apart from the finding that more companies are planning to increase their marketing budgets, today's more stable economic environment was reflected in the specific findings that 71% reported increases in their digital marketing budgets, while 20% are increasing their traditional (offline) marketing budgets.

The annual research surveyed more than 800 marketers (mainly in the UK) and examined the relative levels of planned spending for 2013 across a range of marketing channels, comparing online and offline budgets while also looking at planned investment in different types of marketing technology. Among the other key findings from the report:

  • The average expected increase (for those increasing digital budgets) is 28%, slightly higher than the average expected increase of 26% for offline budgets.
  • Of those companies increasing their digital marketing budgets, 56% will increase them by more than 20%.
  • On average, companies are spending 35% of their total marketing budgets on digital, compared to 36% in 2012.
  • Over two-thirds (70%) of companies surveyed report increases for their content marketing budgets over the next 12 months, the highest for any digital channel or discipline.
  • Only half of companies (50%) surveyed claim to have a 'good' or 'very good' understanding of ROI from digital marketing channels, down from 55% last year and continuing a trend of decline since 2010 when the figure was 67%. For comparison, the proportion of organisation rating their understanding of ROI from traditional marketing as good or very good has hovered around the 50% mark over that timeframe.
  • Just under a quarter (24%) of companies indicate that retention and engagement will be a stronger focus for investment than acquisition in 2013, while 31% will focus more on acquisition.
  • Half (50%) of client-side respondents and around three-quarters (73%) of agencies indicating that organisations will recruit more people into their digital marketing teams in the coming months.

"Investments in digital marketing and associated technologies during 2013 will be buoyant as companies seek to meet financial objectives for customer acquisition and retention," said Econsultancy's research director, Linus Gregoriadis. "Companies will be looking to adopt a more joined-up approach to marketing, so that different channels are working in harmony rather than in silos."

"The 'mass marketing era' is gone, and we've entered the 'relationship era'. To succeed, companies will need to flip their approach to marketing on its head and design cross-channel strategies to deliver long-term relationships, not short-term transactions," concluded Simon Robinson, senior marketing and alliances director (EMEA) for Responsys. "The good news is that marketing budgets are shifting accordingly. Successful marketers in the relationship era will be those who dedicate more resources toward forging real, individual relationships with their prospects and customers."

The report is available for purchase from the Econsultancy web site - click here.