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Latest ADMA report shows marketers struggling with customer, technological change

Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising latest research highlights the skills gaps being felt around customer engagement management, marketing automation and data-driven marketing

Fresh research from ADMA has again highlighted the challenges marketers are facing keeping up with advances in technology, customer experience expectations and data-driven marketing.

In a survey conducted in the lead-up to the association’s Data Day events in Sydney and Melbourne in April, ADMA surveyed 300 local marketers to find out where they felt squeezed the most when it comes to skills, demonstrating ROI and technological change.

The report found customer experience excellence as the top challenge for marketing teams generally, followed by the increasing need to educate and train teams to keep up to date with new advances in technology and techniques. Third was shrinking marketing budgets in an increasingly fragmented media market.

When asked for biggest challenges in their current roles, meanwhile, top of the list was personalising customer experiences using data and insights, followed by the ability to demonstrate return on investment for marketing spend. Coming in third was better team understanding of data-driven marketing strategies and tactics.

And when it comes to skills gaps, customer journey management was the most common gap cited by respondents. Not far behind was marketing automation, then matching online and offline data.

The results echo those of CMO’s own State of the CMO research in 2018, which found the top three technology investment priorities over the coming 12 months are marketing automation, customer management platforms, and digital/Web platforms. In addition, our research showed data analytics and science skills were those marketers felt most lacking in their teams.

What we also found was 62 per cent of marketing leaders surveyed have customer experience reporting into their function, and 86 per cent own digital commerce and strategy. Nearly three in 10 also own customer service/care.  

The ADMA 2019 and Beyond Research was based on a survey of 300 Australian marketers, including ADMA members as well as the wider market.

ADMA managing director, Andrea Martens, said the results were not surprising given the fundamental changes occurring to the marketing landscape, which in turn have seen a raft of new skillsets emerging.

“Being able to interpret and use data and be agile and equipped to make full use of new technology such as machine learning, has become a fundamental part of every marketing team’s toolkit,” she said.

The results around customer journey management and marketing automation, for example, showed a strong desire from the marketing community to continue to develop these skills, Martens said.

“With this knowledge, marketers can have the ability to transform the way they go to market with smarter and more tailored solutions that not only meet but exceed customer experience expectations,” she said.

However, with marketers continuing to struggle to demonstrate their value and worth to broader business executives, Martens believed the fight for budget will remain acute until marketers get better at proving contribution to the bottom line. What’s equally clear is technology and data-led analytics will be keen to realising these results.

“It’s a challenging environment for any marketer. Businesses need to invest in their marketing teams to ensure they have the skills to build and execute programs that deliver real impact,” she added.

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