Top Marketers: Digital Integration Still A Struggle

Executives-BBJust 9% of 200 global marketers surveyed by the CMO Council report that their companies have a highly evolved, integrated marketing model with a clear, proven evolution path.

Instead, more than a third (36%) report that tactical or “point” solutions are “randomly embraced” and not well integrated, and 44% see their digital strategies as still being at an exploration level. 

"Clearly, there are lots of pins without the right pincushion to ensure digital marketing initiatives have the right underlying strategy, architecture and technology infrastructure to meet management expectations," sums up the Council’s executive director, Donovan Neale-May. Corporate management is by and large supportive of digital marketing. Forty-two percent of marketers reported that they have strong interest and active support at the line-of-business (LOB) level, 20% said they have a mandate and a budget to execute, and 18% said that this is an agenda item they have to address with their CEOs, CIOs and CFOs. However, 23% said that management is still trying to understand where digital marketing fits within their overall businesses.



Nearly two-thirds (63%) said that management’s interest in migrating to digital marketing is driven by its potential for increasing marketing performance and ROI through more efficient digital-media channels and better customer engagement. Half (49%) said management is also responding to customers’ growing preference for digital consumption and live, on-demand interaction with brands and companies.

Respondents reported that the digital marketing processes/functions that have the most appeal to management and LOB executives include:

*Customer data integration, analytics and personalization of market interactions (62%)

*Lead acquisition, conversion and customer upselling/cross-selling (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%)

Little Collaboration with IT

One hindrance to integration: Just 26% of marketers are developing interdisciplinary task forces to lead the integration assessment process.

Furthermore, just 32% have teamed with internal IT to lead initiatives and specify needs and requirements. Instead, 59% report relying primarily on their own marketing teams to assess which digital marketing platforms, solutions and channels will provide the most value and business gain, and 51% source best-practices studies and analyst reports. 

Fully 77% said they rely primarily on their marketing teams to evaluate and specify marketing technologies, followed by vendors/solution providers (46%), and their own IT departments (42%). And just 24% turn to IT to assist in making a business case for digital marketing investment.

Among those that identify themselves as being “high-performance, data-driven digital marketers,” however, 26% are developing a combined internal task force to create roadmaps and evaluate solutions, and many are including the customer in the process (customers’ engagement-channel preferences).

“Because there is no real barrier between the marketing and IT teams, we’ve modeled an architecture that fits our organizational size and makes it easier to deal with the complexities we face,” Markus Kramer, global marketing director for Aston Martin, comments in the report. 

At SiriusXM Radio, Inc., director of database marketing and analytics Isaac Turk reports that business, finance, strategic analytics and IT teams collaborate on a business case based on estimates and benchmarks across cost-per-acquisition through ROI for a given campaign or program. Then, “if an area proves to be effective, management is willing to increase spending in that area until the marginal economics dictate otherwise.”

Most Effective Point Solutions

When it comes to tactical or point solutions, 67% of marketers report finding email marketing most effective, followed by Web site performance and interface solutions (52%) and paid and organic search (45%).

Top digital marketing challenges and difficulties include lack of budget and internal resources (50%), integrating internal and external customer data (43%), and deciding which marketing applications have the most value (29%).

The survey (one-third of respondents were from companies with revenues over $1 billion, and 22 were at the CMO or SVP-marketing level) was part of a six-month research program sponsored by digital marketing solutions consultancy Acceleration. The research results are summarized in a report, “Integrate to Accelerate Digital Marketing Value.” A summary can be downloaded free with registration; the full report is $199.

1 comment about "Top Marketers: Digital Integration Still A Struggle ".
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  1. Steve Schildwachter from BrightStar Care, May 31, 2012 at 12:14 p.m.

    Last autumn I moderated panel discussions among client marketers in charge of digital, and was amazed at how out-of-the-loop they felt. Here was the result of that discussion:

    Agencies play a role, to be sure, but clients must own IMC to make it work. First they must open the doors at the bottom of their own silos.

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