Digital Will Steamroll Offline Spend For Marketers, Says New Research

Digital Will Steamroll Offline Spend For Marketers, Says New Research

New research from digital excellence company Econsultancy, commissioned by marketing automation company Marketo, demonstrates the extent of the shift to digital marketing in Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ)

Dana Dobbie
Posted by Dana Dobbie

While almost one in three marketers plan to decrease their offline marketing spend, 60 per cent will increase their digital investment. For a quarter, digital will account for more than half of their total marketing budget.

The research also shows that almost all ANZ marketers (96 per cent) recognise that ‘a good understanding of technology is critical for senior marketing leaders’, and three out of five have increased their investment in digital marketing technology.

Aden Forrest, Marketo’s Australian managing director, said the research highlights the need for a different type of marketing professional. “Companies now recognise the role online and mobile plays in the customer journey. That means there’s a real need for marketers who are strong on analytics and up with technology, without losing sight of the customer experience.”

Yet the proportion of respondents who describe their company’s digital knowledge as ‘excellent’ has halved since 2012 (from 14 per cent to seven percent this year). Only 37 per cent of respondents believed they were better than ‘okay’ when it came to the level of digital knowledge with their organisation.

There is, nonetheless, a strong recognition of the need for a more customer-centric approach to marketing, with 73 per cent of respondents saying their company has improved in this area. Acquiring the requisite skills to improve the customer experience was a top priority for 43 per cent of client-side marketers, along with data and analytics (42 per cent).

The report highlights how the drive to digital is marked by an eagerness for marketers to provide measurable returns on their investment, but Jefrey Gomez Econsultancy’s VP APAC, said some of the metrics seem very short term in focus: “Brand recognition is seen as important by only 38 per cent of the respondents. It’s dropped a lot since the last survey in 2013 (when it was 59 per cent). I hope we’re not seeing marketers focusing on short term sales and forgetting some of the fundamental building blocks of marketing”.

It’s clear from the survey that many marketers and agencies are still struggling with how best to capitalise on the digital marketing opportunity. One agency said, “even though executives claim they understand digital, they don’t know what they don’t know”. Another said delivering a campaign across multiple channels, accessed by multiple devices and powered by a portfolio of platforms, “is both hard and expensive”.

Marketo’s Forrest said fragmentation was a concern and an opportunity. “The platforms exist to follow consumers from ad-response right through to sale, tracking all stages of the engagement process across multiple channels and devices. Getting up to speed with this technology can be a steep learning curve but many who have grasped the opportunity are improving their market share as a result.”

The survey of 472 senior agency (38 per cent) and in-house marketing staff (62 per cent) was conducted online in April and May 2015. Some 46 percent of company respondents have an annual marketing budget exceeding $1 million.