Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
Salesforce ExactTarget has released an Australasian State of Marketing annual report which shows data and analytics to be the top area of investment for regional marketers this year.
According to the report, 97 per cent of marketers plan to increase or maintain their budgets in 2014. The top area to invest in was data and analytics (63 per cent), followed by email marketing (62 per cent). Rounding out the top five list were marketing automation (61 per cent), SMS messaging (57 per cent) and content management (56 per cent).
Just shy of half of all respondents said driving increased conversion rates was their top marketing priority this year, while 41 per cent said increasing and improving brand awareness was their primary concern. The third-highest priority was data acquisition – improving/expanding data collection efforts.
“Respondents across almost every level of organisation also identified brand awareness as a top priority, indicating that brand is still a core focus, even beyond the CMO,” the report authors stated. “With this in mind, we expect to see marketers using social media, mobile and personalised Web experiences to better boost their brand with customers.”
Interestingly, leveraging actionable data was cited by just 13 per cent of respondents as one of their top three priorities this year, suggesting many organisations are still focused on historical reporting on their customers over proactive or real-time interactions.
The findings of the Australasian report echo those in the global edition of the ExactTarget research, released in January. Across international respondents, two-thirds planned to increase total spending on digital marketing this year, with data and analytics topping the list as the key area of investment.
Marketing automation, social media marketing and content management also ranked highly and ahead of email marketing globally. Conversion rates, meanwhile, came up trumps as the top marketing priority for global marketers.
While the focus has historically been on lifecycle marketing, the Australasian Salesforce ExactTarget State of Marketing report cited a shift that showed driving engagement and revenue was of more concern to marketers today than acquiring new subscribers. The primary lifecycle marketing campaigns marketers are using are newsletters, promotional and Web opt-ins.
“A significant gap exists between the importance marketers place on lifecycle marketing campaigns and the number of campaigns they actually implement, as shown by the gap between the top three campaigns and the many other underutilised campaigns,” the report authors noted.
For example, abandoned cart campaigns were used by just 12 per cent of marketers, and browse retargeting campaigns by 24 per cent, yet both have the highest reported success rates compared with other lifecycle marketing activities, the report stated.
The top three success metrics being used by marketers regionally to determine success are conversion rate (sales directly attributed to digital marketing campaigns); engagement rate (opens, clicks); and return on investment.
The Australasian report was based on surveys of 219 marketers during March 2014.