Marketing, It’s Complicated

Terabytes of data; channel options, integration, and attribution; nonstop technology advances. Oh, and ever-changing customer behaviors and expectations. To say that marketing has become complex is certainly an understatement. In fact, 75% of digital marketers surveyed say their job has become more complicated, according to a study by Marin Software. Twenty percent say their job hasn’t really changed—despite all the change going on around them. And 5% say their job has gotten easier. I’m not sure how, but OK, if they say so. (Awesome staff and technology, perhaps?)

Among the many challenges that today’s marketers face is implementing effective cross-channel marketing. Three top issues impeding their efforts, respondents say, are difficulty with cross-channel attribution modeling (58%), lack of visibility or transparency in to the necessary data (50%), and team structures that cause silos and related difficulty (44%). In fact, siloed marketing disciplines is a common problem. When asked how those disciplines—including, display, paid search, SEO, and social—are organized, 61% of marketers polled say that “each discipline is somewhat integrated, but we need to do more.” Twelve percent say their marketing disciplines aren’t integrated at all. And, perhaps surprisingly, 27% say their teams are totally integrated. Those are the lucky ones.

The theme of silos is present between on- and offline, as well. Twenty percent of respondents say their digital and offline marketing efforts aren’t integrated, and 57% say the two are somewhat integrated but they need to do more. Only 24% of respondents claim that their digital marketing is completely integrated with all other marketing, including offline. Those marketers seem to have reached the Holy Grail.

Mobile integration, and mobile in general is still a work in progress for many respondents. Only a third say they work hard to ensure that their marketing provides contextually relevant, seamless experiences across devices; 57% optimize for mobile when they can, but say it’s not a main focus. And 10% of those polled say that mobile currently isn’t a significant element of their mobile strategy.

Although some marketers are focused on integration, most still think of marketing spend by channel. Consequently, when considering ROI, some marketers surveyed are thinking about how to shift spending next year. Nearly a third (32%) say their should shift some offline budget to digital, while 21% say they should move “much more” in that direction; 31% say they have the balance about right. A mere 3% think they should shift digital dollars to offline marketing.

So, what are digital marketers’ top priorities in 2015? According to the survey, 51% of respondents plan to focus on creating campaigns based on a deeper understanding of their audience and 50% will prioritize cross-channel digital marketing; better integrating on- and offline marketing and doing the same for digital marketing disciplines are priorities for 46% and 44% of respondents, respectively. A third of marketers polled say that investing in more sophisticated technology to gather and act on customer insight will be a main focus next year.

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