Less than 10% of companies say they have a “highly evolved” digital marketing strategy, according to a new survey by the CMO Council. The study, involving more than 200 global marketing executives, found that more than a third (36%) admit their digital model amounts to a collection of tactical point solutions that are not well integrated.
At the same time, top management at most companies support digital marketing efforts. One-fifth of marketing executives surveyed say they have a digital mandate and budget to execute, and 42% have strong interest and active support from business line managers, while 18% say digital is a strategic agenda item they have to address with their C-level bosses.
For management, the main benefit of using digital tools is to boost efficiency and ROI in marketing initiatives. Half of marketing professionals surveyed (49%) also believe company leaders are responding to customer preference shifting to digital media consumption and live, on-demand interaction with brands and corporations.
Still, nearly a quarter (23%) say top management is still simply trying to understand where digital marketing fits within their overall business, according to the report by the CMO Council, which says it has 6,000 members controlling more than $300 billion in annual marketing spend worldwide. The study, sponsored by digital marketing vendor Acceleration, however, highlighted the types of digital techniques that companies are most interested in. These include:
*Customer data integration and analytics (62%)
*Lead acquisition, conversion, and upselling/cross-selling of customers (60%)
*Web site performance improvement and richer engagement (61%)
*Behavior-based insight gathering for more effective segmentation and messaging (41%)
*Search marketing and online advertising (39%)
Despite the buzz around emerging areas like social media and mobile, email marketing was judged the most effective digital marketing method, with 67% endorsing it. That was followed by Web site performance and interface solutions (52%), and paid and organic search (45%).
Marketers don’t seem to be putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to email marketing. The category represented less than 1% of the $31.7 billion in 2011 online ad spending estimated by the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
Among the survey participants were 22 CMO- or SVP-level marketing executives, with a third from companies with revenues of more than $1 billion. Among these were Sears Holdings, Adobe, Microsoft, Lucky Brand, Sirius XM, GE Healthcare, and Best Buy.