Digital Spend Forecast To Dominate Marketing Budgets

While a clear majority of marketing execs (78%) expect digital and mobile technologies -- and analytics -- to transform their businesses over the next five years, just 21% think they’ll be ready to reap the related benefits.
 
But, it’s not for lack of trying, according to new findings from Accenture.
 
In fact, more than one-third of surveyed execs expect digital spending to account for more than 75% of their marketing budgets within five years, while 41% believe their spending on digital marketing will increase by more than 5% next year alone.
 
Despite the concerns of industry leaders, Brian Whipple, senior managing director at Accenture Interactive, is encouraged by their actions.
 
“As marketing executives are increasingly embracing digital, they can be catalysts to help their company take advantage of the wider digital opportunity and protect against broader digital threats," Whipple explains in the new report.
 
Accenture’s research is based on survey responses of nearly 600 executives in 11 countries conducted between November 2013 and January 2014.
 
Respondents believe that front-line employees and customer word-of-mouth are still very important marketing channels, but the increase in effectiveness of email marketing, online display advertising and search engine optimization was up significantly from a similar study conducted by Accenture, in 2012.
 
Also of note, although marketing executives have had success in hiring more talent with digital, analytical and technical skills, the survey shows a 10-point decline in customer and digital analytics capabilities compared to the 2012 survey.
 
As it stands, 62% of survey respondents said their companies currently provide a good customer experience.

For those that don’t, Accenture suggests increasing collaboration within the C-suite, including chief digital officers and chief information officers.
 
Companies can also benefit from reverse engineering their corporate marketing initiatives around desired outcomes rather than focus on sales transactions, according to Accenture.
 
Marketing heads need to empathize with customers by changing the focus of marketing from something they "do to" a customer to something they "do with" a customer.

Rather than building marketing programs based on initiatives that target, capture and convert customers, companies should focus instead on efforts that influence, engage, stimulate and help customers.

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