Report: Marketers ramp up tech spend but experience still driving budget decisions

Latest survey of senior marketers by Econsultancy/Teradata finds data to be a key way of making strategic decisions, but is less relied on for budgeting

Experience is still playing a larger role than data with marketers when it comes to making budget decisions, a new report claims.

The joint Econsultancy and Teradata report, Enterprise Priorities in digital marketingfound 40 per cent of the 402 senior marketing respondents are using data and experimentation to make strategic decisions, yet the figure drops to 23 per cent when it comes to budgeting decisions. Instead, competitive analysis (27 per cent) and experience and instinct (26 per cent) are the most common ways of making budgeting decisions.

The findings are strikingly similar to a recent report produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Gut and gigabytes: Capitalising on the art and science in decision making, which found 68 per cent of Australian executives either rely on their own intuition, to the advice and experience of others, to make big decision.

The Econsultancy/Teradata report also looked at the state of technology investment and found 36 per cent of companies are currently evaluating marketing attribution systems, while 48 per cent expect to do so over the next 12-24 months. This was followed by marketing cloud and application management systems (32 per cent under evaluation), and audience management systems (28 per cent).

When asked about the priority of technologies currently in use, data management platforms came up trumps as the top priority for 29 per cent of respondents, and a high priority for a further 43 per cent. This was followed by audience management system (23 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively), marketing cloud and application management systems (23 per cent and 34 per cent), and content management systems (23 per cent and 43 per cent).

“An overarching takeaway is that everything is a priority; every technology has at least half of the respondents describing them as ‘high’ or ‘top’ priorities,” the report authors noted.

What was clear across the report was the focus being placed by marketers on customer engagement. Sixty-two per cent of respondents viewed customer satisfaction as the top reason to invest more in technology, and 49 per cent said becoming more customer-centric was their top two priority.

Personalisation was rated by one-third of respondents to be a top priority, yet while 86 per cent are practising some form of personalisation, fewer than 20 per cent are executing on this day-to-day and in a real-time way. Just shy of half of marketers said the top benefit of personalisation programs is improving customer experience.

Over the next year, 51 per cent of marketers are focusing on personalising the customer lifecycle, and segment-level and real-time personalisation are core overall areas of focus.

“Strategic direction is only as powerful as the investment that supports it,” commented Darryl McDonald, president, Teradata Marketing Applications.

“We’ve been talking about personalisation for years. Now, through digital marketing, custom analytics and marketing as a service the appetite is real, and true personalisation is the future. Only a customer-centric strategy that combines technology and data can deliver sustainable opportunities for businesses to drive top-line growth through continuously more personalised data-driven marketing strategies.”

Respondents said digital investments are expected to reach 40 to 50 per cent of marketing budgets by 2019. At present, digital advertising is the largest single channel budget at 17 per cent, followed by search (16 per cent) and content (15 per cent).

The Econsultancy/Teradata report was based on a survey undertaken in July of 402 senior marketers from global organisations with more than US$500 million in revenue.

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