Australian marketing professionals have grown significantly more confident in their digital marketing abilities with more than three-quarters of marketers now rating their skills as “excellent” or “good”, compared to 60% 12 months ago.
The figure is one of the key takeaways from the report Emerging Trends in Digital Marketing, an annual study into Australian and New Zealand digital marketing attitudes and practices conducted by First Point Research & Consulting on behalf of Sitecore Australia.
The number of marketers tracking their digital ROI has increased from eight in 10 (80%) in 2013 to nine in ten (90%) today, however there are significant differences between business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) marketers.
B2C marketers are far more likely to measure ROI and to approach the measurement with clarity of purpose. Because of the ability to quantify success, they are also more likely to believe they have executive support for their activities and less likely to cite budget limitations as a barrier.
This compares to almost one-third of B2B marketers admitting they either do not measure ROI, or they fail to use the information they collect. This failure to measure ROI represents a significant challenge for B2B practitioners and, until the situation changes, will hinder the take-up and success of digital B2B marketing.
The metrics used to determine marketing success have become markedly more sophisticated in 2014. The use of conversion, sales and new customer acquisition metrics has increased from 12 per cent in 2013 to seven in ten (69%). The number of marketers monitoring leads generated has risen from four in ten (44%) to just over half (56%), and a similar number (49%) say they now use KPIs aligned with business objectives.
While web analytics are still used predominantly for reporting and insights, the study found they are also being used more widely for recommendations about site optimisation and conversion optimisation.
The use of personalisation attracted significantly more interest from marketers during the last 12 months and is now viewed as the number one area of growth by just over one-quarter (26%) of marketers, compared with one in eight (12%) in 2013. While all marketers express heightened interest in personalisation, the consumer sector is most engaged, with more than one-third (34%) of B2C marketers viewing personalisation as the major growth opportunity compared with one in eight (13%) of B2B marketers.
Use of social media has also leaped ahead and is now used by seven in ten (68%) of marketers, compared to six in ten (57%) in 2013.
Web analytics and email marketing remain the most common digital activities in 2014,used by more than nine in ten (90%) of marketers. Along with social media and apps, they are also widely considered to be key growth opportunity over the next 12 to 18 months.
The biggest priority for marketers in 2015 is better use of big data, particularly in the areas of marketing automation, content profiling and integration to the CRM.
Overall marketer attitudes to digital practices remain optimistic and enthusiastic. Marketers feel they are well supported by management. They are more confident in their personal skills and in the competitive positioning of their organisations.