The growth of digital marketing no longer constitutes "breaking news" for most of us, but research from several firms continues to track the fundamental changes that are occurring in the practice of marketing.  A recent example is the "US Interactive Marketing Forecast, 2009 To 2014" published last month by Forrester Research.  This report is based on a survey of 204 marketers conducted in March 2009.

Forrester projects that spending on interactive marketing will grow from about $25.6 billion in 2009 to nearly $55.0 billion in 2014.  At $55.0 billion, interactive marketing will account for 21% of all marketing spending in 2014, up from 12% in 2009.  By Forrester's definition, interactive marketing includes search marketing, online display advertising, e-mail marketing, social media, and mobile marketing.

For these interactive channels, Forrester projects the following growth rates during the forecast period (2009 - 2014):

  • Social media - 34% CAGR

  • Mobile marketing - 27% CAGR

  • Display advertising - 17% CAGR

  • Search marketing - 15% CAGR

  • E-mail marketing - 11% CAGR

The Forrester survey strongly suggests that much of the growth in spending on interactive marketing will come at the expense of traditional marketing activities.  Six out of ten survey respondents said they would fund increases in their interactive marketing budget by shifting money from traditional marketing budgets.  The outlook is particularly bad for print-centric marketing channels.  Forty percent of survey respondents said they expect to cut direct mail spending, 35% indicated they would reduce newspaper advertising, and 28% said they would decrease magazine advertising.  Forrester contends that this reallocation of marketing investments among channels will occur because overall advertising/marketing budgets will not grow significantly during the forecast period.

It's fair, of course, to question the accuracy of five-year projections in a volatile area like marketing.  But the Forrester report provides one more piece of evidence that we are witnessing far-reaching changes in how marketing in done.