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How Your Competitors Are Acquiring Customers: 2016 Media Usage Survey

Apr 11, '16 / by Beth Carter

Let’s face it: As marketers, we’re all highly competitive by nature. And while many factors influence how we allocate our resources, we make those decisions with an eye toward what our competition is doing as well. After all, if we’re not ahead of the curve, we’re probably behind it – and that’s never a good thing.

It was very interesting, therefore, to see what nearly 70,000 B2B and B2C marketers had to say in the 2016 Media Usage Survey reported in the latest issue of Target Marketing Magazine.

Your Competitors Are in Growth Mode

It appears that companies in 2016 are focusing more on growth than stability. Whereas 42% of companies plan to increase their customer acquisition budgets, only 33% plan to increase their customer retention budgets.

customer acquisition budget

customer retention budgetSource: Target Marketing

This growth appears to be a trend. The percent of marketers planning to increase customer acquisition budgets has grown from 41% in 2015 and 40% in 2014, while the percent of marketers planning to increase customer retention budgets fell from 35% in 2015 and 33% in 2014.

Implication #1: Will your competitors launch more aggressive growth strategies this year? Can your current value proposition stand up to tougher competition? Your pipeline may be at risk of drying up if your brand is not visibly conveying a strong customer-focused message.

Implication #2: If the product or service you sell helps your clients grow their own businesses, 2016 should be a good year for you.

Your Competitors Are Spending More on Content Marketing

This is my favorite part of the data: Out of 22 tactics, the majority of marketers stated they will increase their budgets on content marketing. This beat out such media favorites as Big Data (19%), mobile apps (24%) and even online video (44%).

Marketing Tactics Chart
Source: Target Marketing

Given that companies are growth-focused in 2016, and knowing the value of content marketing as a lead generation tool, this comes as no surprise. But since we’re all about our data at Clariant Creative, we love it when the numbers tell our story for us.

Implication #1: What priority does content creation have in your budget? If, as the data above suggests, your competitors are spending more money to create blog posts, white papers, infographics and more, will your website look robust or anemic by comparison?

Implication #2: What priority does content promotion have in your budget? No matter how great your content may be, if a potential customer finds your competitor’s great content first, you’ve lost an opportunity.

Related Content: Grab Our Marketing Reporting Toolkit

Your Competitors Are Using Email to Drive Value

Whether the focus is customer acquisition or customer retention, marketing requires consistency. Leads need a series of touches before they will trust you enough to become customers, and customers need to feel loved before they will share the love.

Email, it turns out, is ideally suited for delivering both – and Target Marketing’s data reflects this. Marketers overwhelmingly pointed to email as delivering the strongest ROI for acquisition and retention. Compared with methods such as direct mail and paid search, great email programs can be run at a lower overall cost while yielding superior results.

Best ROI Marketing Method
Source: Target Marketing 

Implication #1: What does your lead nurturing program look like? Are you using email to send the right messages to the right people at the right times? How do you know if your approach is successful?

Implication #2: What does your customer loyalty program look like? Are you using email to reward your best customers and turn them into brand evangelists? How do you know if your approach is successful?

Keep in mind, I’m certainly not suggesting you reallocate resources based on a knee-jerk reaction to one study. But the insights behind this data definitely open things up for consideration. Tell us, do these numbers reflect what you’re seeing in your markets? How will these numbers impact your own plans for 2016 and beyond?


EBOOK: Six Marketing Metrics You Can't Afford to Ignore

Topics: Marketing ROI

Beth Carter
Written by Beth Carter

I love to write and I'm a total grammar freak. I also passionately believe that conversational, approachable and insightful content can help people solve real problems and can make a real difference in the world.

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