And the numbers show...

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) just released results from a study conducted to uncover how brand builders are spending their money and where they are placing efforts.  It's no big surprise that short-term strategies are being employed in response to the economy.  Social media is in the same bucket as pricing deals and public relations which are three things that have increased budgets right now.  It also wasn't a surprise to hear that traditional media has declined in importance compared to previous reports.   Straight from the press release:

Media channel effectiveness for building brand equity has also shifted materially. While television is still ranked highest in importance (64 percent), online (61 percent) and guerilla/word of mouth/buzz marketing (57 percent) have grown to be on par with television, with social media being ranked as the next highest effective media channel (40 percent).  Social media ranked highest as the media channel that marketers would like to use but have not yet been able to implement.

This study reaffirms that now more than ever it is critical to be in social media where brands can engage with their consumers.  In uncertain economic times, this is a prime way for brand marketers to keep their ears directly plugged into what consumers are thinking about their brands.  Those that are there now, will be that much stronger when the economy turns around because they've been engaging with their consumers the entire time.

Have you shifted your marketing dollars differently than the report shows?  What's the hardest marketing challenge that you find in the short-term and in the long-term given the economy?  Is social media part of your strategy in both the short-term and long-term?  We want to hear your thoughts.

For all of the results, check out the press release.