Digital Marketers Find Difficulty In Proving ROI

More than half of digital marketers taking part in a survey believe campaigns require taking risks and that marketing has measurable value, but proving return on investments to anyone other than their immediate peers is somewhat difficult.

The Adobe Systems study analyzes what keeps digital marketers up at night. With help from ResearchNow, the online survey of 1,000 U.S. marketers was conducted between late August and early September 2013. Some 66% of those surveyed believe their profession has changed more in the past two years than the past 50, and many lack the confidence to do a good job because they don't have the formal training.

In fact, 82% learn digital marketing techniques on the job, although 60% expect their companies to invest more in the technologies during the coming year. About 36% said they learn by watching other brands and companies. About 25% learn through trade conferences and seminars, and 20% rely on professional industry groups and communities.



Overall, only 48% feel "highly proficient" in digital marketing, and only 40% view their company's marketing as "effective." Only 9% strongly agree that they know their company's digital marketing works.

Marketers are also skeptical of their team's proficiencies. Overall, 39% said they are highly proficient in digital marketing, and 40% believe their marketing colleagues are highly proficient in digital marketing.

There is also a significant gap between perceived importance and actual performance when it comes to marketing measurement. About 76% of marketers believe measurement is important, versus 29% who believe they are doing it well.

Not surprisingly, 68% of digital marketers feel more pressure to show return on their marketing investments, 66% feel they won't succeed without a successful digital marketing approach, and 50% are under pressure to move to digital faster. Some 39% feel ROI is extremely important, followed by those who feel is it somewhat important at 44%, not that important at 4% and not at all important at 1%.

Marketers are most concerned with reaching customers, at 82%, followed by understanding whether campaigns work, at 79%; proving campaign effectiveness, at 77%; and demonstrating marketing return on investment, at 75%. About 66% of marketers believe measurement is important versus 29% who believe they already do it well.

2 comments about "Digital Marketers Find Difficulty In Proving ROI".
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  1. Nancy Arter from Outward Media, September 24, 2013 at 1:05 p.m.

    The funny thing about this is that digital marketing is VERY measurable. What I've seen with my clients is that the back-end systems (sales systems) normally lag -- by quite a bit -- making those managing digital marketing campaigns rely solely on immediately available metrics (opens and clicks on email campaigns for example). Because companies have a need for instant feedback, I think it becomes a game of proving that online metrics WILL equate to ROI prior to the point where return is able to be accurately measured. It is a conundrum for sure. And digital marketing IS ever changing -- which means that learning does become a community-based effort. I this this is what makes it fun! Wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

  2. Dale Brose from dBroseGroup, September 24, 2013 at 11:20 p.m.

    I'm not that surprised to see these numbers and it does jibe with what I hear from company marketers. It's disappointing to hear nonetheless.

    I agree with Nancy about the irony considering how measurable everthing is. But I think it goes deeper. What I mean is that many marketers are not even clear what the "R" is that they're trying to get. You could say things like profits or revenues, but there is a gap to jump it seams with a lot of metrics in between.

    It's not uncommon for ill prepared marketers to begin putting money into digital campaigns or efforts without being clear on how the outcome is supposed to deliver the return. It's a bit like digital alchemy.

    That being said, I hope if they're spending marketing budgets that these folks are investing some time in learning how to use tools like Google Analytics to do more than look at site traffic and bounce rates. Maybe do a little goal setting and conversion tracking?

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