Digital marketing activity rising yet skills and metrics remain a challenge

New research into emerging trends in digital marketing produced by Sitecore and First Point Research and Consulting finds majority of companies in Australia are planning to spend more on digital marketing in 2014, yet metrics remain inadequate

Senior marketers may have their heads around digital marketing, but unless they invest in better training for junior staff and stronger metrics, they won’t get the most out of these new channels, an analyst claims.

Jane Briggs, founder and principal research director at First Point Research and Consulting, made the comments at a press launch marking the release of her Emerging Trends in Digital Marketing report, produced in partnership with Web content management vendor, Sitecore. The research was based on a survey of 330 client-side marketers across Australia and New Zealand.

While recent global research has suggested digital marketing is taking over as the dominant method of activity, Sitecore’s survey found offline still represents 61 per cent of total marketing spend. Of the 39 per cent invested in digital marketing channels, 55 per cent was from small firms with annual revenue of less than $2 million.

Briggs attributed this to their smaller marketing budgets as well as the potential to earn “more bang for their buck” through digital activities. Things are changing, however, and 73 per cent of total survey respondents plan to increase spending on digital-based activities in the next 12-18 months.

“The larger companies are finally investing more and catching up,” Briggs said, adding 75 per cent of companies with $20m or more in annual turnover plan to spend more on digital marketing this year.

Holding back the shift from offline to online are budget constraints (51 per cent of respondents), followed by a lack of understanding/education about digital marketing (34 per cent).

What’s interesting is where the knowledge gap around digital marketing lies. According to First Point, marketers who have less than five years’ experience in the field, and who are expected to understand new channels like social media intuitively, are less confident about their digital marketing abilities than counterparts with 15 years or more in the field.

For example, of the 17 per cent of marketers who rated their skills in digital marketing “excellent”, just 13 per cent were individuals with less than five years’ experience.

“The ‘top of the tree’ [marketers] are getting well-versed in digital marketing, and assuming the junior teams know how to do this successfully and are up on this area, but the juniors aren’t as comfortable in terms of knowledge,” Briggs said.

One reason could be that 38 per cent of less experienced marketers have had formal training in digital marketing, compared with 54 per cent of those with at least 15 years’ experience, she said. In total, 40 per cent of marketers said they had undertaken training courses in digital marketing.

Why the new age of digital marketing is about engagement and intuition
Telstra's 4 Ps of marketing analytics
Australians lead the region for digital marketing excellence

Another big hurdle is the way marketers measure digital marketing activities. The research found 73 per cent are still relying on number of visitors to their website to indicate success, rather than longer-term customer lifecycle or satisfaction KPIs.

Alarmingly, more than one-third of respondents are either not measuring digital marketing ROI at all, or are tracking ROI but remain unclear about how to use the analytics information. Nearly 50 per cent are also only discussing analytics around digital marketing activity during periodic marketing meetings, and 16 per cent don’t know how analytics are being discussed.

“The question we need to ask is what’s going on with those organisations, and do they not know how to do that [measure]?” Briggs asked. The next big opportunity is to define better metrics for digital, she said, adding these didn’t necessarily have to be the same for every organisation.

“If you don’t build the case for digital marketing properly, management won’t get on-board,” Briggs said.

“What I also think these figures show is a disconnect between management and junior marketers. If we don’t do a better job of equipping these juniors, that figure won’t change and the margin in offline and online spend will remain disparate.”

When it comes to the metrics wishlist, Web and predictive analytics and personalisation were the top choices for respondents, followed by social media integration. The most popular digital activity remains emails to their own databases (84 per cent), followed by social media (81 per cent). Display ads came in a distant third at 60 per cent.

Respondents were also asked to nominate channels they considered to be over-rated. Print topped the list at 38 per cent, followed by TV at 24 per cent. Briggs said the figures suggested many marketers were cynical about the level of spend still being allocated to print.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: ABC's Leisa Bacon

In this episode of Conversations over a Cuppa with CMO, ABC's director of audiences, Leisa Bacon, shares how she's navigated the COVID-19 crisis, the milestones and adaptability it's ushered in, and what sustained lessons there are for marketers as we start to recover.

More Videos

Hi everyone! Hope you are doing well. I just came across your website and I have to say that your work is really appreciative. Your conte...

Rochie Grey

Will 3D printing be good for retail?

Read more

Zero proof spiritsUsa since 2011 www.arkaybeverages.com🤪🤟

Sylvie

How this alcohol-free spirits brand rode the health and wellness wave

Read more

okay this a good newsmaybe i gonna try it

kenzopoker1

CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 9 July 2020

Read more

Very insightful. Executive leaders can let middle managers decide on the best course of action for the business and once these plans are ...

Abi TCA

CMOs: Let middle managers lead radical innovation

Read more

One failing brand tying up with another failing brand!

Realist

Binge and The Iconic launch Inactivewear clothing line

Read more

Blog Posts

MYOD Dataset: Building a DAM

In my first article in this MYOD [Make Your Organisation Data-Driven] series, I articulated a one-line approach to successfully injecting data into your organisation’s DNA: Using a Dataset -> Skillset -> Mindset framework. This will take your people and processes on a journey to data actualisation.

Kshira Saagar

Group director of data science, Global Fashion Group

Business quiet? Now is the time to review your owned assets

For businesses and advertiser categories currently experiencing a slowdown in consumer activity, now is the optimal time to get started on projects that have been of high importance, but low urgency.

Olia Krivtchoun

CX discipline leader, Spark Foundry

Bottoms up: Lockdown lessons for an inverted marketing world

The effects of the coronavirus slammed the brakes on retail sales in pubs, clubs and restaurants. Fever-Tree’s Australia GM Andy Gaunt explains what they have learnt from some tricky months of trading

Andy Gaunt

General manager, Fever-Tree Australia and New Zealand

Sign in