Marketers are shaping up for a career transformation: Report

New Adobe survey of marketing professionals finds most expect their role to change dramatically thanks to digital, but many are struggling with getting the right skills training and organisational processes in place to achieve it

Marketers are convinced their role is changing dramatically, but most don’t know how to go about reinventing themselves, a new report claims.

According to Adobe’s Digital Roadblock: Marketers Struggle to Reinvent Themselves report, 64 per cent of marketers surveyed expect their role to change in the next year, and 81 per cent believe the role will change in the next three years.

The result reflects the ongoing transformation marketing is experiencing thanks to the rise of the digital economy, and increased corporate focus on customer engagement.

In addition, two in five marketers expressed a desire to reinvent themselves, yet just 14 per cent knew how to go about it. Top hurdles include a lack of training in new marketing skills, as well as an organisation inability to adapt to new market conditions.

Another major obstacle is risk aversion. Half of marketers said marketing professionals should be taking more risks 12 months from now, and 45 per cent hoped to take more risk individually.

The figures vary depending on current digital spend. Marketers from companies allocating at least 25 per cent of their total marketing dollars on digital channels today are more likely to believe their need to reinvent themselves to succeed than those spending less than 10 per cent on digital, at 82 per cent and 67 per cent, respectively.

While the industry recognises the need for data-driven marketing decisions to drive marketing success, Adobe’s new research showed many still have a way to go before truly utilising it. Seventy-six per cent of respondents agreed they need to be more data-focused today to succeed, and 74 per cent said capturing and applying data to inform and drive marketing activities is the new reality.

Sixty-nine per cent also saw the need to embrace ‘hyper-personalisation’, or using the right data to inform decisions on products, services and content at the right time.

Despite this, 49 per cent admitted they are still making ‘gut decisions’ when it comes to how they invest their marketing budgets. Just under 40 per cent are actually using consumer data and behaviour patterns to shape marketing strategy, although 45 per cent are planning on using more of this data in the next 12 months.

Across the board, 72 per cent said long-term success is tied to proving a return on marketing investments. Key behaviours to succeed, meanwhile, include the ability to work better across channels (21 per cent of respondents), as well as the ability to measure and learn from campaign effectiveness (16 per cent).

Digital usage and knowledge was also revealed as a key area of investment, especially in terms of staff. The top role for marketing leaders to invest in over the next 12 months is digital/social marketing (47 per cent), followed by data analyst (38 per cent), creative services (38 per cent) and mobile marketing (36 per cent).

In addition, 69 per cent of marketers said mobile is a vital element to get right, and 51 per cent ranked mobile their most critical channel area of focus in the next year. The top priority was social media (61 per cent of respondents).

In line with the trend towards better and more appropriate customer experiences, marketers ranked personalisation the number one capability to marketing moving forward. Sixty-three per cent of those at high-performing companies said they are already focused on personalising experiences for customers, compared with 53 per cent of average or low-performing companies. High-performing companies were described as those that out-performed key competitors in terms of sales revenue and represented the top 409 respondents.

“The good news is that marketers see the change in front of them and understand they need to embrace data, focus on creating personalised experiences and work across their social, Web and mobile channels,” commented Adobe global CMO, Ann Lewnes. “They just need to take the plunge.”

The research was based on an online survey conducted across 1000 US marketing professionals during February. Results were revealed during Adobe’s Digital Marketing Summit in Salt Lake City

- Nadia Cameron travelled to Adobe Digital Marketing Summit as a guest of Adobe. Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook:

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