Marketers grow internal use of direct and digital

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CMOs are stepping up their use of traditional direct marketing tactics, including customer data integration and analytics, lead qualification and harvesting and performance measurement, according to the Chief Marketing Officer Council's latest State of Marketing report, released April 19.

Marketing executives are also building their own in-house digital marketing staffs to gain more control of Web-based efforts, according to the report.

Nearly half (46%) of the more than 500 respondents said they are investing in digital demand generation and online relationship building to improve the impact and value of their marketing, while 62% said they will more often study customer data to improve their segmentation and targeting.

Marketing executives are also planning to improve their internal digital marketing capabilities, according to the report. Nearly six in 10 (59%) will train and develop their existing staff, while 40% will add or expand digital marketing agency support and 36% will hire new talent within their organizations. Asked where specifically CMOs will allocate their marketing spend, 65% said they were evaluating investments in new social media and online communities, while 44% responded that they would spend more on Internet media channels. One-third cited mobile messaging, and 31% pointed to new methods of online content delivery.

Jeffrey Hook, SVP of marketing at Seminole Casinos, said that his company has hired staff from other casino marketers and industry experts within their disciplines, especially database marketing

"We have more customized marketing and reporting than we had before," he said. "Before, we were working with agencies who were trying to create stuff that works for a casino just as it works for a transportation company."

More than one-third (35%) said they will undertake "transformational marketing projects" to improve their go-to-market effectiveness. Another 19% said that such a shift is "under consideration," and 8% replied that a transformative project has been proposed but not approved.

"There's a shift back to what I call the focus on the fundamentals — analytics, database marketing, customer data integration and building infrastructure — that has enabled more targeted, personal and timely messaging in the marketplace," said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council. "A lot of what the folks have been evangelizing on the direct side - the effectiveness, measurability, response-driven and conversation-driven marketing, is what marketers are undertaking, and that is a significant shift."

The study also found that nearly half (46%) of CMOs will conduct a "digital marketing makeover," and nearly one-third (32%) will emphasize customer data integration and analytics. Nearly one-third (31%) will increase marketing performance measurement, while nearly three in 10 (28%) will install a lead qualification and harvesting system.

Suzie Brown, CMO at Valassis, said "marketers are doing a lot of testing and experimentation on digital tactics, and hanging on to the ones that are working for them."

Client-side marketers are hiring "an emerging number" of digital staffers, she continued.

Internet-based advertising is poised to show considerable growth in the next three years, both in total spending and the percentage of overall expenditure it represents, according to numbers released this month by ZenithOptimedia. For this year, Web advertising will increase to $62.6 billion from $55.4 billion in 2009.

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