ExactTarget’s 2014 State of Marketing study includes insights from 2,500 industry professionals. Earlier this year, I highlighted attitudes regarding social media use and responsive design  revealed by this study. emailHowever, the report includes valuable data on a number of topics, including which digital formats will be most popular and how lifestyle marketers are shifting focus.

According to ExactTarget, the most popular digital tools being used today are:

  • Email marketing 88%
  • Social media marketing 78%
  • SEM/SEO 73%
  • Display/banner ads 64%

More than half of marketers plan to increase their spending on the top 3 items on that list in 2014. Only 43% intend to increase their display/banner ad budgets. Other top areas where marketers will boost spending include SMS messaging (53%) and marketing automation (60%).

While the top priorities for most marketers will be higher conversion rates, increased brand awareness, and measuring behavior-based data, enterprises are also keenly aware of the need to focus on lifecycle marketing. ExactTarget analysts divide the marketing lifecycle into the following segments:

  • Acquiring new members
  • Onboarding subscribers and getting them comfortable with marketer content
  • Engaging subscribers, especially through personalized communications
  • Retaining subscribers

This year, marketers report that the lifecycle marketing focus will be all about more engagement. Previously, marketers had been intent on boosting the number of subscribers.  The top forms of lifecycle marketing range from promotional (61%) to newsletter (66%) to web opt-in (54%).  However, in terms of email campaign success, marketers note that promotions involving loyalty (47%), birthday (43%), and abandoned cart (42%) are the best strategies. It seems that these strategies would work particularly well to support the engagement focus as well.

To learn more about Email Ad Responders, check out the Audience Interests & Intent Report available at the Research Store on ad-ology.com.