Digital media to overtake traditional marketing channels in Malta – study
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Digital media to overtake traditional marketing channels in Malta – study

Malta next year should see an increase in the use of digital media for marketing purposes at the expense of traditional media.

Malta next year should see an increase in the use of digital media for marketing purposes at the expense of traditional media.

A new study on the use of digital marketing by Maltese businesses has revealed that social media and e-mail marketing are set to overtake the use of offline marketing channels such as TV, radio and print media very soon.

“The future is digital. By next year, social media and e-mail marketing will be used more than any other offline channel. This marks a critical turning point for local media,” concluded a study by local web development company ICON.

The survey was based on the input from 83 local marketers from diverse industries with the intention of understanding their use of digital marketing channels. The full report is available at http://www.icon.com.mt .

Right now offline channels and social media are the most popular among marketers in Malta. While local companies still rely on traditional channels, they are concurrently adopting new digital platforms, especially social media and e-mail. Indeed 76 per cent of local companies currently use offline marketing channels but this is set to go down to 72 per cent next year, with TV, radio, newspapers, magazine and similar channels becoming less attractive to local marketers.

Coincidentally the same number of companies (i.e.76 per cent) also use social media. This shows the increasing popularity and importance of social networks among marketers and the interesting mix of the two tools within the marketing arsenal of local companies.

The majority of local marketers (85 per cent) plan to use social media more than any other channel in 2012. This, together with e-mail marketing, will surpass the offline channels in terms of the number of companies using it. However ICON predicts that 2012 will be the year of mobile marketing.

“We have heard how mobile web marketing will introduce immense opportunities to companies as it brings about a new communication platform for marketers. Foreseeing a huge increase from nine per cent to 37 per cent, mobile marketing promises to be the next big thing in the digital era,” the report claims.

Local marketers explained that the main use of digital channels is to raise brand and product awareness. Others are also interested in converting leads into sales, reaching a specific audience and attracting new prospects. Having a wide array of channels to choose from, companies endeavour to make the best out of different platforms by using multiple options. Such an integrated approach is beneficial for companies however one must integrate the marketing-message(s) on the various channels, including both offline and online channels. This is often a challenge to marketers, the report adds.

Business-to-business companies have different channel preferences though. Their most popular medium is e-mail, and will remain a favourite during 2012.

Almost half the participants (46 per cent) predict that budgets dedicated to digital marketing will steadily increase in the near future, indicating that marketers believe more and more in the effectiveness of such channels. Only five percent of marketers will decrease their expenditure on digital channels in the coming years.

However limited finance remains the primary concern for 56 per cent of marketers in Malta. Having more resources, including human resources, in hand would help marketers invest more aggressively on digital channels.

A good number of local companies (72 per cent) make use of analytics to measure their online performance. Nonetheless, many tend to look at high-level data such as visits and clicks rather than in-depth analysis such as determining the online cost per sale or return on ad spend.

Companies in Malta are not likely to outsource their digital marketing requirements because it is too expensive (57 per cent). Others have in-house skills or think that their business nature is too complex for them to outsource such services.

The business of social media will be the focus of a half-day seminar organised by PricewaterhouseCoopers and ICON on October 21 at the PwC Academy in Qormi. Intended for CEOs, general managers and heads of strategy, this conference will address the business drivers and factors behind the answer to the question: “What should my organisation be doing in the social media space; How; and When?”

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