Marketers boost spending, gain optimism: DMA report

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Marketers modestly increased spending on various media in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to the Direct Marketing Association's quarterly business review. A majority of marketers also told the industry group they are optimistic about the near term.

A majority (54.7%) of marketers said they increased revenue generated from direct and digital marketing activity in Q4 2010 compared with the same period of 2009. Most marketers and suppliers (53.5%) said they are optimistic about their near-term profitability, yet fewer than half (46.1%) forecasted improved performance in the first quarter of 2011.

“Marketing is doing pretty well, relative to the general economy and recovering at a slightly stronger clip than the regular economy,” said Yoram Wurmser, director of marketing and media insights at the DMA. “What also struck me was the level of optimism in the first quarter, although what is now happening in Libya, Egypt and Saudi Arabia may alter that.”

However, job growth was slow in the fourth quarter of last year. More than two-thirds of marketers (67.1%) and 51.7% of suppliers said their staffing levels were unchanged from Q3 to Q4 2010.

Asked to rank their year-over-year spending on a scale of one to five, most marketers described improvement across media categories. E-mail, social, search, online display and banner ads, and mobile and teleservices saw the greatest year-over-year spending growth in Q4 2010, according to the DMA.

Marketers' investment has also shifted from data technologies to digital in recent quarters, said Wurmser.

“I don't think it means at all that data is less important, but it means that marketers are making investments in digital over the last several quarters to take advantage of that data,” he said.

The DMA and Winterberry Group, a consulting firm, received 665 responses from two surveys in January 2011.

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