Facebook rated the most important marketing channel
With the increasing range of channels available to reach our audiences, it's increasingly difficult to know where to focus investment in marketing communications techniques.
Most marketers will rightly argue that the techniques that works best in their market is what really counts, so researching their audience adoption of new digital channels and running trials for these new marketing channels is most effective to get an idea on what's effective.
But it's also good to have a steer from what others have found before you implement trials, so I have created this post to share research published on what other marketers have found to be the most effective marketing approach.
1 Merchant Circle Small and Medium Business Marketing Survey
This is the recent research that prompted me to write this post, shockingly Facebook is rated more popular than Google - this wasn't the case a year ago! The research is based on feedback from 5,000 small and medium businesses in the US.
In terms of effective marketing techniques across all channels, the 4 methods all involve online marketing but with Print ads and direct mail still rating quite highly. Similar findings are available from Emarketer marketing research.
Looking at Facebook in a little more detail in the pie chart below, we see that many who have used Facebook ads rate them quite highly, but many wouldn't use them again. I wonder how this would look for Google. It's no surprise if Google are "running scared" given the relatively low popularity of PPC Search Engine Advertising.
2 Marketing Sherpa Social Media Marketing Benchmark Survey
Another perspective on the most effective marketing techniques is given by this research from Marketing Sherpa of 3,342 US and European marketers in 2011. I think this bubble chart format is a great way of rating effectiveness since it plots the degree of difficulty on the X against the effectiveness on the Y with usage of the technique shown by size of the circles. It's perhaps no surprise that the most effective techniques tend to be the most challenging...
It's useful to see that blogging and partnering with other bloggers and media sites are rated as core to social media activity - all the activities in this chart should be integrated - their not really options. You can see that advertising on social sites is rated relatively low.
3 Econsultancy research on marketing budgets in the UK and Europe
This marketing investment research doesn't show effectiveness, but it does indicate popularity of marketing channel through its questions about planned increase in budget.
You can see that social media, email marketing, mobile and SEO are all rated to warranted by more to merit budget increases compared to affiliate marketing, display advertising and search.