Joe Meloni

A report from the Direct Marketing Association suggests email and social media marketing campaigns will be top priorities for marketers moving forward. Based on a survey using a Likert Scale (with one marking an area of significantly decreased spending and five marking an area of significantly increased spending), the average company ranked social a 3.6 and email a 3.4, placing the channels in first and second in terms of importance for 2012, eMarketer relayed.

Other marketing channels businesses plan to dedicate resources to for the rest of 2012 include SEO, paid search marketing and mobile. Each of these efforts earned an average of 3.2 on the one to five scale. According to the study, investments in social, email and search all decreased from the fourth quarter of 2011, but the holiday shopping season typically warrants greater investment in the final three months of any year.

The DMA also found that more companies are adjusting their marketing campaigns to focus on attracting new prospects more than retaining existing customers and clients. For 2012, marketers said 61.7 percent of their resources will be directed to new customers, compared to 38.7 percent that focused on existing relationships.

In terms of the channels included in acquisition plans, 86.3 percent will use email marketing, while 67.4 percent will focus on social. SEO and paid search were also quite popular with 66.8 percent and 58.9 percent respectively using these avenues to reach new prospects.

The increased focus on social, email and other channels was also indicated by a study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Brafton highlighted the research in a report that stated revenue for marketing agencies in the first quarter of 2012 reached $8.4 billion. The figure represented the strongest first quarter ever for web marketing.