International marketing requires marketing strategies that are responsive to many diverse markets, so it may come as a surprise that U.S. marketing trends correspond so closely with those we see across key European markets. The explanation is simple: Buying behavior has changed in Europe the same way it has in the U.S. Buyers are conducting their research and consuming content online, and they are actively engaging with social media. This is driving the need for marketers to increase the use of inbound tactics in the marketing mix.

We surveyed marketing leaders and demand creation professionals in European markets including the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and the Nordic region. We asked participants to identify their marketing mix across four categories: inbound, outbound, social and mobile marketing. Although social and mobile fall into the inbound and outbound categories, respectively, we measured them independently to examine their prevalence in the demand creation mix.

Here’s what marketers revealed about how their demand creation program spend is shifting:

  • Inbound. The use of inbound marketing, which SiriusDecisions defines as “a tactic that has been extended to an unknown target audience,” is growing steadily in Europe. Nearly 95 percent of companies are already practicing inbound marketing, and all plan to increase their inbound marketing spending by 2015.
  • Outbound. Marketers driving demand in European markets recognize the importance of integrating inbound marketing into the tactic mix, but many still rely heavily on outbound tactics, which they rank as among the most effective for generating inquiries and driving conversions. Program allocation for outbound tactics is expected to decrease by an average of 3.9 percent. With 67 percent of the buying process being done digitally, we expect this number to increase as sellers in European markets more effectively align program tactics with buyer behaviors and preferences.
  • Social. Marketers report that the most significant increase in spend is in the social media category, which will see an average increase of 5 percent by 2015. However, 78 percent of survey participants do not have a marketing automation platform in place, which will limit their ability to fully integrate social media tactics into demand creation programs and to measure social media’s impact on program performance.
  • Mobile. Another key trend is a rise in mobile marketing. Although organizations understand the importance of adding mobile into their mix, many have yet to determine the requirements and to define a mobile strategy. Respondents anticipate an average increase in program spend of slightly more than 2 percent by 2015.
  • Best-in-class demand creators – those that understand and adapt to the changing needs of their buyers – are shifting their marketing mix to include a balanced, integrated blend of inbound and outbound marketing tactics.

    For more insights from our European demand creation study, attend our upcoming webinar “Demand Creation Resources and Technology: The EMEA Landscape.” Clients can also access the replay of the first in our series of webcasts: “Effective Demand Creation Techniques for UK Markets.”