F5 Expo 2010: BC Business
Photo: jeremylim.ca

Last month, the B.C. Association of Integrated Marketers (BCAIM) and Ipsos ASI released a study that revealed the state of marketing in the province.

The study, which you can download via BCBusiness.ca, is the first-ever survey of local marketers in B.C.

Here are four stats from the study that caught my attention.

1. 80% of BC marketers get their marketing news from LinkedIn

In the past couple of years, LinkedIn has transformed itself from just another social network to a content powerhouse. It’s no wonder that marketers in Metro Vancouver are taking notice.

LinkedIn Today does a great job of aggregating news by topic and industry based on what your professional network is already sharing — an important curation tool given the amount of content being produced everyday. The addition of the Influencer program on the site last year gives LinkedIn users another compelling reason to check the site regularly.

2. Customer experience is still #1, but…

Marketers like to talk about how content (or in some instances, context) is king, but the survey seems to indicate that this isn’t necessarily true. 75% of respondents identified “customer experience” as an important factor to their business, with “product  & service strategy” (61%), “brand strategy” (59%) and “innovation” (59%) following behind.

More than half of the respondents (55%) identified content strategy as an important factor.

3. Actually, PR is not dead

Only trailing behind social media, PR is utilized by 89% of BC marketers, according to the survey. This might come as a surprise to some who have declared public relations dead. As this survey shows, savvy companies recognize the importance of PR as newsrooms continue to shrink and as influencer outreach and localizing PR efforts become more critical.

4. Social is the future?

58% of respondents identified online social media as an important marketing medium — getting the most votes from all the choices provided. While online search engine marketing/ SEO (53%), direct marketing (46%), and public relations (46%) all trail closely, this stat makes it clear that social is the shiny new thing that marketers are currently chasing.

When asked how marketing spend in various channels will change in 2013, 73% indicated that they plan to increase social media budgets — far eclipsing the 59% of those who plan to increase search marketing budgets and 57% who plan to do so with mobile apps.

To no one’s surprise though, measurement of digital marketing efforts continue to dog marketers: 37% disagreed with the statement “Measuring ROI in the digital space is easy to do.”

From these stats, I offer the following takeaways:

There’s opportunity in content marketing.  Almost half of those surveyed didn’t think content strategy is an important factor, but respondents also recognized the importance of LinkedIn, search marketing, and social media in other questions — mediums that are all somehow tied in to quality content.

social networking site use by age group, 2005 - 2012
Photo: Pew Internet

Differentiation will be key in social. The report concluded that “social is hot, and it’s where investment will increase the fastest this year.” But marketers need to keep the following in mind:

As more companies try to stake their claim in the social space, differentiation will be key. Using authentic, unique voice creatively will be critical for most companies. Also, producing engaging, high-quality content — sound familiar? — will distinguish top companies from the rest.

Offline isn’t dead. The survey clearly shows that traditional or “mainstream” mediums are still important. PR, direct marketing, and radio still ranked decently on the survey. And unless you’re an ecommerce company, customer experience is mostly an offline experience.

The future of marketing in Vancouver…according to you?

Now it’s your turn. Any thoughts on BCAIM’s 2012 State of Marketing Survey?

© 2013, KC Claveria. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please link back to kcclaveria.com