According to a new survey from Selligent and StrongView, marketers will focus on integrating email and social media to increase omnichannel effectiveness in 2016. The “Selligent & StrongView 2016 Marketing Tends Survey” polled 295 marketers and found that email will be the top target for increased investment across all digital channels, beating social media and display, which took the second and third spots.

More than half (56%) of survey respondents plan to increase marketing budgets this year, about the same as last year.

Connecting effectively with consumers is top of mind for many survey respondents.   “Increasing subscriber engagement” was by far the most important marketing initiative for 2016 at 34% – more than double the next response of “improving segmentation and targeting.”  In their quest to master consumer engagement, marketers have to contend with several challenges. Most notably, survey respondents cited “leveraging customer data from multiple channels and data sources” as their top challenge in the coming year.

Marketers are also focused on many aspects of integrating social media with email in order to create more opportunities for engagement. The focus on social media engagement and interaction marks a sharp increase from 2015. Nearly half of marketers (45%) cited “social media channel growth” as their top email marketing initiative for investment in 2016 compared with only 34% in 2015, edging out more traditional promotional programs and triggered email programs. Integration with social media is by far the most popular channel integration initiative at 61% this year compared to 47% last year. Social media was chosen above web site integration (58%) and mobile integration (42%).

“Email marketing is an established and profitable channel that will be seeing increased investment in 2016 as marketers continue to rely on it as a vital part of their omnichannel strategies,” said Andre Lejeune, CEO of Selligent. “It’s encouraging to see marketers break down siloes to use channels like email, social media, and web together to create a better and more unified experience for consumers.”

KEY 2016 SURVEY FINDINGS

Marketing Budgets

  • Increase 56%
  • Decrease 9%

Marketing Programs to Be Increased (Top 3)

  • Email 60%
  • Social Media 56%
  • Display 56%
  • Mobile 52%

Top 3 Email Marketing Initiatives for 2016

  • Increasing Subscriber Engagement 34%
  • Improving Segmentation and Targeting 14%
  • Improving Data Analysis to Better Understand Customer Context 12%

Top 3 Email Marketing Challenges for 2016

  • Leveraging Customer Data from Multiple Channels and Data Sources 27%
  • Improving Segmentation and Targeting 18%
  • Inadequate Data and Analytics Capabilities to Engage in Contextual Marketing 12%

This is great news! Here’s your chance to sell your email marketing services! Use AudienceSCAN’s data on Email Newsletter Readers to target them like the expert you are! Start with getting your advertisers to send out offers, because 42.9% of U.S. adults said they prefer to get “limited-time offers/sales” emails from favorite stores or businesses. The next most important type of email to them is a new product announcement, with 28% of consumers preferring those arrive in their inboxes. And here are a few things at the top of their shopping lists: Windshield repair or replacement (15.8% will purchase); Boots or western wear (17%); Acupuncture (14%); Trip to ski resort (16.7%); Family portraits/High school senior pictures (16%).

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.