Half a dozen years ago I read a study suggesting that, by 2025, Fortune 500 companies would be spending 80% of their marketing budget on digital marketing and only 20% on traditional marketing. Traditional marketing encompasses things like television and newspaper ads, event sponsorships, and billboards — historically trusted places to invest marketing dollars. Many at the time laughed at imagining businesses pulling away from these so heavily to spend in things like websites, online ads, and search engine ranking.
2020 has been full of uncertainties. The one thing that has been constant since mid-March is how much we’ve shifted even more so to digital. Between March 1 and March 17, home internet use in the United States increased by 18% — in less than three weeks. By late March, over 80% of consumers said they either already had begun consuming more online content or expected to in the coming weeks.
During times of uncertainty, many companies look to cut marketing budgets. History shows that’s not a smart move. In fact, companies that recover best coming out of hard times invested in modernizing their marketing plans and engaging their customers in new ways.
Digital Marketing is Here to Stay
American’s habits have changed and most experts agree that we won’t go back to the way things were even once we’re past the pandemic. Consumers have become more reliant on online shopping versus brick-and-mortar stores. Businesses are doing more vendor research online versus the ubiquitous lunch meetings of old. People are staying home and working from home more than ever before — changing how they consume media.
Is Your Marketing Budget Up-to-date?
We get asked frequently, “how much money does our business need to allocate toward marketing?” The answer is: it depends. Are you trying to grow 5% a year or 15% a year — or even 50%? Is your customer base one-and-done or do you have a recurring revenue model?
While these questions are important, it is also important to ask how your marketing budget should be spent. Most surveys indicate that corporate marketing budgets have approached and are now exceeding 50% going toward digital marketing — deploying these resources toward web design, content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), online ads, social media ads and more.
A Trusted Partner is Key
Having a great website isn’t enough for most businesses to succeed in digital marketing – but it’s a great first step. To navigate the constant evolution of marketing, it is critical for businesses to have a trusted partner to help chart their marketing path forward. Often for less than the cost of a full-time marketing professional, small businesses can begin a relationship with a firm that brings decades of combined digital marketing experience to craft a strategy for your business. That trusted partner can tell you where to invest in marketing and, most importantly, where not to waste valuable time and resource.
The world has changed. People’s behaviors have changed. Is your company adapting? Is your digital marketing strategy positioning you for success? Is your marketing budget aligning with today’s trends and data? Do you have a digital marketing partner to help you navigate the fast- changing marketing landscape?
If you want to be successful on the other side of this uncertain time, these are the questions you should be asking. Digital Marketing is here to stay. Those who invest in it wisely will be the companies that thrive.
This content first appeared in the GSA Business Report Book of Experts.