Sydney, 2 December 2013 – Although expenditure on offline activities still claims the lion's share of the marketing budget, the gap between investment in digital and offline marketing is narrowing, according to Emerging Trends in Digital Marketing, a research study into the attitudes and behaviour of marketers across Australia and New Zealand, commissioned by Sitecore, a global leader in customer experience management software.

The study found that among Australian and New Zealand organisations, offline activity accounts for 61 per cent of the marketing budget, compared to 39 per cent for online or digital activities, but the extent of digital investment varies markedly according to size of organisation. Firms earning less than $2 million annually invest on average 55 per cent of the marketing budget on digital activity. Among firms earning between $2 and $19 million, the digital budget consumes 46 per cent of the marketing budget, while for organisations with revenues in excess of $20 million, it is just 33 per cent of the budget.

In 2014, this situation will undergo a major shift when, in an effort to catch up to the smaller organisations, large and medium firms boost their investments in online activity and direct approximately three-quarters of the total marketing budget to digital marketing.

The most popular and widely used channels among marketers are the two online channels of social media and emails to the customer database, followed by print, trade shows, online display ads and direct mail. To contradict this however, the top five over-rated marketing channels nominated by respondents are: print, TV, trade shows, direct mail and radio.

Overwhelmingly, online marketing channels are seen as offering the biggest growth opportunity for organisations, with social media, emails to the customer database, mobile and personalisation the leading options.

Almost half of all marketers (51 per cent) say that limited financial resources is the biggest barrier to greater investment in digital marketing. Just over one third also believe that a lack of education or understanding of digital marketing, and a lack of capabilities in digital software are hampering digital growth.

Tracking of digital marketing activities to identify the return on investment (ROI) is commonplace, practiced by four in five marketers. Most use the information to report to the executive team or to plan future funding and/or cut-backs. There is room for improvement however, with 14 per cent of marketers acknowledging they aren't sure how best to use their ROI information and another one in five admitting they don't track digital activity at all.

Another concern is the widespread use of website traffic measurements as an indicator of digital success. In an environment where engagement and conversion through activities such as conversations, enquiries and downloads are so readily measurable, reliance on traffic numbers suggests some marketers are failing to take advantage of the full benefits of digital marketing.

For example, one of the most valuable aspects of digital marketing, the availability of comprehensive web analytics, currently appears to be under-utilised by most organisations with less than one third of marketers using the data in real time as well as referring to it during periodic marketing meetings. The study suggests that this tool could be used far more effectively and to far greater benefit in the future.

Robert Holliday, Managing Director – Australia/New Zealand, Sitecore, said, “The digital marketing landscape is undergoing a rapid evolution and while there are still many untapped opportunities, Australian and New Zealand marketers are clearly positive in their outlook and keen to progress their use of digital channels.”

The report can be downloaded from www.sitecore.net/emergingtrendsanz

About the study

The research was conducted in October 2013 by independent research and consulting firm, First Point Research and Consulting. 330 marketers across Australia and New Zealand, representing all industries including agencies and client organisations, were surveyed about their attitudes, behaviour and future plans concerning digital marketing.

About Sitecore

Sitecore is the global leader in customer experience management software for delivering the marketing that matters most – highly relevant content and personalised digital experiences that delight customers, increase loyalty and drive revenue. With Sitecore’s fully unified, powerful, and easy-to-use software suite, marketers can focus on engaging customers instead of managing data – to deliver experiences that are relevant, immediate, and integrated across channels. More than 3000 of the world’s leading brands – including American Express, Carnival Cruise Lines, easyJet, Heineken, LEGO, Microsoft, and Nestlé – depend on Sitecore to help them deliver the meaningful interactions that win customers for life. Customers in Australia include Nissan Australia, Network 10, AustralianSuper, Canon, Blackmores, Jenny Craig, Sydney Airport, AGL, Water Corporation, and TAL.