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GALA Member Survey Results, Q1 2012: Marketing & Commmunications


15 March 2012

Every other quarter GALA surveys the membership on macroeconomic issues to get a read on the global and regional economic picture. On the off quarter, we ask about another aspect of business. In the first quarter of this year, we turned to marketing, asking the membership about their marketing programs and tactics.

In the past few years, we have found that our members are quite interested in more marketing information and resources.  In fact, marketing is always one of the most sought after topics at our annual Language of Business conference.  Results of the first quarter 2012 GALA Member Survey attests to the membership’s growing sophistication in marketing with more members devoting increased funds to marketing and deploying a wide mix of integrated marketing tactics.

LSP Marketing Budgets

Exactly half of the respondents said they had a defined marketing budget.  By region, North American and European members maintained the even split, with 53 and 51 percent respectively having a marketing budget.  By contrast, about two thirds of those from Asia and the Middle East have funds dedicated to marketing, while only 22 percent do in South America.

Overall, marketing budgets do appear to be growing rather than shrinking.  In 2012, approximately one third of respondents kept their budgets the same as 2011, but 47 percent increased their budgets—33 percent bumped them up by more than 10 percent.  Ten percent of respondents decreased their budgets, and those were only in Europe and Asia; the other regions all reported either the same or greater budgets as the previous year.

Of those with a marketing budget, the average annual total globally was $53,000, however, those numbers vary greatly by region.  Interestingly, while most do have a budget in Asia, the amount of the budget is relatively small at $27,000 for the year. By contrast, the annual average in North America is $141,000 and in Europe it is $71,000. 

Marketing Plan and Resources

Respondents of the survey reported having a defined marketing plan by a two-thirds majority, which tracks closely to those with a marketing budget. When separated by region, a majority of respondents from every region except South America reported having marketing plans.  In South America, only 22 percent maintained a marketing plan.

Meanwhile, 49 percent globally have staff devoted to marketing, which is a slight rise (3 percent) over three and a half years ago when we asked the same question (GALA Member Pulse Survey Quarter 3, 2008).  The number of respondents using a sales person for marketing did decrease significantly from 28 percent in 2008 to 18 percent this quarter.

Only in Europe and North America, the two regions with the highest marketing spend, did respondents report having an external professional to assist with marketing.

Marketing Mix

The survey revealed a wide mix in marketing tactics among the membership with respondents deploying many different tools to get their messages across to their audiences.  This integrated approach is an effective way to approach marketing.

The most popular vehicle, email marketing, is used by a full 67 percent of respondents.  It is closely followed by social media which is used by 64 percent of respondents. This represents a major shift from the last time we surveyed membership about their marketing mix in third quarter, 2008.  At that time, only 29 percent of respondents said they used mostly email marketing and/or online advertising, and we did not even asked the membership about their social media activities.

Other oft-used tactics include association marketing opportunities (58 percent), trade shows (57 percent), online advertising (54 percent), and public relations (51 percent). 

A deeper look at social media shows that not one of the networks is truly dominant.  While LinkedIn continues to be the most popular network among respondents, with 31 percent using it, it is not nearly as dominant as it was two years ago when membership was asked a similar question (GALA Member Pulse Survey, Q2 2010). At that time, a full 86 percent preferred Linked In as their main channel.  Facebook is the second most used network with 24 percent saying it was their most important network, and Twitter came in third with 18 percent putting it as their first choice.  Meanwhile, the number of respondents who have a person dedicated to social media grew significantly. In 2010, 37 percent of respondents said they had a person in charge of social media; that number has now jumped to 51 percent.

Other interesting findings from the survey include:

  • A full 72 percent of respondents create print and electronic materials, but one-quarter have switched to only electronic materials.
  • When asked what their most effective marketing endeavor was in 2011, respondents did not have a consensus, mentioning everything from GALA group exhibits to search-engine optimization to participating in trade shows.
  • Forty percent of respondents use GALA’s free member press release posting service as one of their marketing tools.
  • A large majority of respondents (95 percent) prefer to receive information about the translation and localization industry via email.  They also prefer email for news about GALA by a wide margin (97 percent), although social media channels are being used more.

The Q1 2012 survey was completed by 98 GALA member companies.  Respondents were spread across all geographical regions with the most coming from Europe.  We encourage your participation in these surveys as the collective data is useful for you and all GALA members.

Note: The GALA Member Pulse Survey is a quarterly survey of members in which we ask about an important topic impacting members and the industry.  Our next survey will return to the topic of macroeconomic issues which we have been asking the membership for the past three years.  Watch for the next economic indicator survey in the second quarter.

Members may download the complete results at this link.