Adobe report: Most marketers don’t know if their digital marketing is working

The field of digital marketing is constantly being inundated with new tools, techniques and strategies, but do any of them actually work? Turns out, nobody knows.

A new survey from Adobe says only 9% of digital marketers actually know if their efforts are working, which makes the demand for a tool to measure return on investment even more crucial than ever. 

The survey, conducted among 1000 marketing professional was released today to coincide with the start of Advertising Week, and its findings expose a lack of confidence among digital marketing professionals.

“Marketers are facing a dilemma: they aren’t sure what’s working, they’re feeling under-equipped to meet the challenges of digital, and they’re having a tough time keeping up with the pace of change in the industry,” said Ann Lewnes, chief marketing officer, Adobe. “But the opportunity for marketers is too great to let uncertainty slow them down. Marketers who are bold in their digital marketing efforts and investments, who are taking smart risks, and who are training their teams to be more ‘digital ready’ will be in a great position to capitalize on digital’s full promise.”

The insecurity around the digital marketing discipline arises from keeping up with constantly evolving technology, a lack of formal training and difficulty in measuring the impact of digital marketing campaigns. Less than half (48%) of professionals who consider themselves primarily digital marketers feel highly proficient in digital marketing. A majority of digital marketers haven’t received any formal training in digital marketing: 82% report learning on the job. Coupled with all that anxiety, 68% of respondents feel more pressured to show return on investment on their marketing spend.

Despite the fact that most marketers appeared to be not particularly confident in their own abilities, they did however agree on the effectiveness of digital marketing itself.  High-performing companies are twice as likely to rate their company as highly proficient in digital marketing (50%) than average to lower-performing companies (25%).

The issues of the greatest concern for marketers are: reaching their customers (82%), understanding whether their campaigns are working (79%), followed closely by proving campaign effectiveness (77%) and demonstrating marketing return on investment (75%)

“Business leaders recognize the potential of digital in driving revenue. Marketers need to rise to the occasion and mature – quickly – in digital proficiency. The challenge is to stop being digitally paralyzed and start aligning their products and services to the digital opportunity by building digital programs, measuring and optimizing,” said Yvonne Genovese, managing vice president, Marketing Leaders Research, Gartner. “Realizing the positive outcomes – like customer engagement, retention and conversion will rapidly fuel digital marketing maturity and leadership.”

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