CHICAGO: Marketers will invest almost $600bn in brand activation efforts like content, influencer and experiential marketing this year, according to a report from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

The industry body allied with research firm PQ Media on "The US Brand Activation Marketing Forecast 2016", which defined this discipline as incorporating content, influencer, experiential, promotional, relationship and retailer marketing.

And the analysis suggested that initiatives in these six areas will collectively attract nearly $600bn in expenditure – including operator revenue and brand spend – across 2016 as a whole.

Spending on such activities climbed by 5.5% to $562bn last year – a total equating to 59.8% of all marketing outlay, versus 25.2% for digital measured advertising and the 15% logged by trade promotions.

Looking ahead, that dollar figure is projected to reach $743bn at the end of the decade, compared with the $437bn recorded in 2010.

The full definition of this activity hints at the drivers behind that shift, as it involves "the convergence of media platforms and channels to shape the way consumers experience brands by employing actionable marketer insights and strategies to bring a brand to life.

"What defines strong brand activation is the way they are used together, and with traditional media, to drive results through consumer behaviours and/or actions."

Bob Liodice, president/CEO of the ANA, thus argued that the report's importance goes beyond solely quantifying the financials, as it "definitively" identified the 32 distinct channels that make up brand activation.

The largest channels in terms of share were customer service/telesales, direct mail (and related activities), marketing information/big data analysis, email/search marketing, and event marketing/sponsorship.

Further down this list came social media marketing, PR and corporate communications, shopper marketing analysis, product placement, word-of-mouth marketing, loyalty programs and in-store mobile messaging.

By category, automotive topped the spending charts for brand activation last year on $54.5bn. Retail claimed second place on $53.4bn.

Elsewhere, the study showed that approximately 57% of brand activation marketing is outsourced to media companies and other firms.

More broadly, the research indicated that the total number of media outlets has tripled over the last 40 years, meaning media buyers are currently presented with in advance of 200 options.

Data sourced from Association of National Advertisers; additional content by Warc staff