In this guest post, Steven Hayes (pictured below), vice president of sales for the Asia-Pacific region at Oracle Marketing Cloud, explains why marketers need to take a leaf out of Nike’s book when it comes to embracing digital technology and ‘just do it’.
With many businesses facing tighter bottom lines and higher expectations, the tussle for a share of company budget can be fierce, with various departments having to prove ROI down to the last cent.
Despite this competitive environment, marketers are finding themselves in an enviable position, with 61 per cent of marketing professionals expecting their budget to increase over the next 12 months – up from 40 per cent in 2016.
This insight comes from Oracle Australia’s annual survey of industry predictions and trends in the marketing sector, conducted recently at the ADMA Global Forum in Sydney.
Overall, the outlook of marketers is positive. Only 5 per cent of those surveyed said they expect their budget to decrease over the coming 12 months, compared to a year ago when 20 per cent were concerned their department would be on the financial chopping block.
This newfound confidence can be attributed in part to the more personalised and targeted outreach strategies that have increasingly been implemented by savvy marketers across all industries – and boosted ROI in the process.
People-based marketing is one of the buzzwords of the day, being touted as the gold standard of marketing. But even marketers who don’t currently have the capacity to target each customer individually understand that using a blanket approach to reaching their desired audience will no longer cut it.
In order to reach so many individuals across the plethora of devices they use each day, technology will continue to play a growing role in how marketing strategies are rolled out.
Surprisingly, however, although artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic at the moment, it is not top of mind for marketers. When asked about their plans for the next 12 months, nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) of respondents indicated social media integration was planned, while less than one-fifth (19 per cent) planned on using AI.
Marketing automation (45 per cent), personalisation, and testing (44 per cent) also featured as focus areas for marketers in the coming 12 months, while predictive analysis (25 per cent) languished towards the bottom of the pile.
When it comes to digital marketing, the advice from Oracle is ‘just get started’. We often find companies want to understand and learn digital marketing before they invest, but that’s not always the best approach.
Today, many companies, including Oracle, allow their customers to run pilot programs or proof-of-concept projects at a low cost. If these programs are successful, the company can convert it to a full production platform, and if not, they can make adjustments to get it right before making the investment. It’s all about building confidence in your team and within your organisation and lowering risk.
For all the challenges that the marketing profession throws up, marketers are right to be optimistic.
The industry is vital for brands that want to connect with current and potential customers. For marketers who are able to take calculated risks, embrace evolving technology, and deliver exciting campaigns, the future is bright.