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Study Finds Executives are Gaining Confidence in Ability to Identify ROI in Their Marketing Efforts

February 26, 2014

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 -- The Software and Information Industry Association issued the following news release:

The use of social media in corporate marketing remains extraordinary high and mobile marketing is gaining significant ground, according to an annual survey of marketing executives released today by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries. At the same time, marketing executives appear to have a stronger grasp on the ROI of their overall marketing efforts, allowing them to direct resources more efficiently.

The survey's key findings, which are described below, will be explored in-depth during an SIIA webinar on February 26. Members of the media are invited to participate. For complimentary registration, contact Farrah Kim at or 202.568.8986.

SIIA's annual Marketing Industry Report surveys marketing executives on their companies' use of social media, email, mobile, web and traditional marketing tactics. The findings of the third annual survey show that the use of social media marketing remains at an extraordinary high level, with about 92 percent of marketing executives using social media to promote their companies. While that result represents a slight decline compared to last year's survey, in which 98 percent reported using social media, it is an increase from 89 percent in 2012.

The survey also finds that mobile marketing took a significant step forward in the last year. Thirty-seven percent of respondents say they use mobile in their marketing efforts - up from 25 percent in last year's survey. In addition, a quarter of respondents report that mobile has increased product usage for their companies. When asked how mobile has changed their relationship with customers, 30 percent say it has expanded the range of customer segments, and the same number say it has led to more one-to-one contact.

Another key finding of the SIIA Marketing Industry Report is that more executives (64 percent) now feel they can effectively measure the ROI from their online marketing efforts, compared to 55 percent in last year's survey. With greater confidence in the return they're getting, marketers can more efficiently dedicate resources to both traditional and online efforts. As part of this, marketing executives appear to have identified the best use for social media as a marketing platform - an overwhelming majority (78 percent) say social media is somewhat, very or highly effective in raising brand awareness.

Further evidence that marketers are becoming more efficient is that only 22 percent of respondents say social media increased their overall annual marketing costs - a significant drop from 2012, in which 30 percent said it increased their costs. In fact, just 38 percent of respondents plan to allocate more money to their social media budgets during 2014. While use of social media marketing remains extremely high, this figure - which has steadily declined from 58 percent in 2013 and 65 percent in 2012 - likely indicates that marketers are becoming more efficient in their implementation of social media marketing

The survey also indicates that mobile will likely continue to lag behind other forms of marketing in the year ahead. Just 16 percent of respondents said they will increase their mobile marketing budget in the next year.

"While usage may vary somewhat from year-to-year, social media marketing appears to be close to its peak with near-universal use among the marketing executives we surveyed," said Rhianna Collier, vice president of SIIA's Software Division. "It also appears that as marketers continue to assess how to best use social media, they are increasingly focusing on implementing it as a brand awareness tool. This focus on efficiency is something we're clearly seeing from marketing executives. They tell us that they are better able to determine ROI, and that's allowing them to more efficiently and cost-effectively implement both traditional and digital marketing efforts."

Collier continued, "Another interesting finding is the significant increase in mobile marketing usage. In addition to the big jump, mobile also appears to be changing the relationship between companies and customers. It's expanding the customer base and actually facilitating greater one-on-one contact. Even still, marketers appear somewhat skeptical, as mobile ranks well behind all other marketing initiatives when it comes to corporate budgets for the year ahead."

The SIIA Marketing Industry Report also looked at a wide range of other issues and found a number of additional results that are important for marketers - including:

* Conferences and Trade Shows are Key Priorities: 43 percent of respondents said they plan to increase spending on conferences and trade shows. By comparison, 40 percent said they plan to increase spending on paid search, while 39 percent plan to spend more on search engine optimization and 38 percent plan to spend more on social media.

* Traditional Marketing Tools are Still the Most Valuable: 35 percent of respondents identified events, tradeshows and webinars as their top lead generators. The next highest lead generator was web search (18 percent). The highest concentration of respondents - about 42 percent - also said events, tradeshows and webinars deliver the highest quality leads.

* Marketing Executives Feel Stretched: Respondents said their biggest challenges are lack of resources and personnel (37 percent) and lack of budget (34 percent).

"Despite the overwhelming use of social media and digital marketing tools, our survey demonstrates that there is still no replacement for face-to-face contact," continued Collier. "Conferences and events still yield the most return for the marketing executives we surveyed, and that's where they will be putting most of their money in 2014."

The 2014 survey, which was conducted between October and December 2013, asked questions of more than 100 marketing executives who work for companies ranging in size, including those employing 1 to 99 people (60 percent), those employing between 100 and 999 (33 percent) and those employing more than 1,000 people (7 percent).

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Source: Targeted News Service

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