Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Why your Marketing Budget Allocation is Madness


eMarketer reports that the Web and its meritocracy for content publishing has put more power into the hands of consumers and business buyers. They can easily conduct their own product research, get advice and read reviews from peers, and share their own perspective.

According to a market study by marketing services company Alterian, this apparent transformation has led to increasing public skepticism and cynicism of many traditional marketing practices.

Rather than simply trusting experts or putting faith in brands, Internet users expect to do their own research and comparison shopping using many different "more trustworthy" sources.

Nearly every respondent to Alterian's survey did their own research and comparisons before a purchase at least sometimes, and 71 percent said they looked for as many information sources as possible to verify their findings.

Friends and family were most likely to be trusted for advice, while advertisements and other carefully crafted marketing messages from companies were deemed to be least trustworthy.

A recent market study from marketing agency Jack Morton supports the picture of shoppers putting together online and offline information sources rather than accepting what they are told by those with an obvious vested interest or other apparent bias.

The top three sources that influenced purchase decisions for U.S. Internet users were friends and family sought out for their opinion (53 percent), friends and family who offered their opinion (49 percent) and objective online research (49 percent).

Alterian advises marketers to recognize these empowered consumers as individuals. Traditional broadcast messages are wasted effort, but targeting Web users who feel in control of their own relationships with brands -- through trusted channels, such as social media -- could be much more effective.

For example, while just 16 percent of respondents overall thought companies were "genuinely interested in them," that proportion more than doubled among those involved in social media activities. This begs the question, why do most marketers continue to spend the majority of their budget on traditional advertising?

They say the definition of madness is doing the same thing, over and over, and hoping for a different result. So, how mad is your current marketing budget investment strategy?