The Future of Interactive Marketing

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Forrester recently released a new report tracking the future of US interactive marketing through 2014. Authored by Shar VanBoskirk, with Christine Spivey Overby, Niki Scevak, and Angie Polanco, Forrester predicts that interactive marketing is poised to grow at a 16% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

Even though interactive marketing will approach $55 billion by 2014, the report also observes that not all industries will keep pace with this growth. Retail and financial services are expected to dominate the greatest share of all interactive marketing. Brand advertisers in industries such as consumer goods however, represent the most notable potential for growth.

Nevertheless, Forrester cautions readers of this report to analyze competitive and industry activity before committing to spend and programming

But while it’s helpful to understand industry spending dynamics, we recommend benchmarking your own spend against companies that are like yours — even if they are outside of your industry group.

To provide guidance to decision makers across a diverse set of industries, Forrester studied search marketing, display advertising, email marketing, social media, and mobile marketing by 11 business verticals.

The overall theme is innovation and sophistication

Highlights from the research include:

1 – Retails and financial services spend the most in each of the verticals examined, accounting for 33% of all interactive spend.

2 – Big offline advertisers are expected to demonstrate the greatest volume of growth including, media and entertainment, consumer goods, automotive, and healthcare firms. It is expected that these industries will grow at a 22% CAGR over the next five years.

3 – B2B interactive investments will remain consistent, representing 9% of the overall interactive landscape. Business services, accounting firms, consultancies, and agencies as well as business trade elements, will grow from $2.3 billion to $4.8 billion in 2014.

4 – As is any research, there is usually a category for “other.” In this report Forrester assembles education, local services, and government in one sliver with online universities, home improvement services, and local and national government to increase spending by more than 20% between now and 2014. This growth is attributed to 1) local advertising options continue to improve; 2) government agencies promote newly online processes; and 3) the competition for online students will increase. In one such example, the University of Phoenix developed its own online ad network to distribute online promotions and coupons as a means for increasing course registrations.

In each of the 11 categories that Forrester explored, the average CAGR over the next five years was 16% with “other” representing the higher end of spending with 23% and lead generation on the other end of the spectrum with 9%. Other high growth industries for interactive marketing spending include:

Consumer Goods – 22%
Automotive – 19%
Media & Entertainment – 19%
Travel – 18%
Health and Pharmaceuticals – 18%
B2B – 15%
Telecommunications – 15%
Financial Services – 14%

One of the more interesting aspects of the Forrester report was the allocation of spend across multiple channels with Social Media ranking either fourth or fifth (out of 5) within the mix.  In 2009 interactive spend was mostly concentrated on search marketing – rightfully so as with online customers and prospects, almost everything begins with search.

Other top channels in 2009 for interactive marketing include:

Display Advertising
Mobile (which I can only believe will increase dramatically of the next five years)

In a Forrester report published earlier this year, Social Media spend is expected to increase by 34% by 2014, placing it just behind mobile marketing, but ahead of search marketing. Regardless of industry, the top areas of marketing, whether it’s interactive or marketing in general, for any business, must focus on social, mobile, and also the real-time Web. Thus forming a Golden Triangle engagement.

This post represents only a handful of the insights shared in Forrester’s new report. Please visit Forrester online for the full analysis.

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