Advertisers' Digital Marketing Skills Remain Stagnant

The news is marketing departments aren’t getting any worse at digital marketing. But, according to their own accounts, they’re not getting any better either. 

According to a new survey from the Boston Consulting Group, advertisers gave themselves an average score of 57 (out of 100) on their digital capabilities, which is the same score they gave themselves when the firm conducted a similar survey 18 months ago. Worse, two-thirds of the companies surveyed gave themselves a 60 or lower. In grading terms, that’s a D-minus, at best. 

The survey (commissioned by the Google Digital Academy) of more than 5,000 employees in advertiser marketing departments (2,200) and in advertising agencies (2,900). Agencies gave themselves average scores of 68, with many giving themselves at 65 or higher. 

Both advertisers and agencies cited weaknesses in mobile and video channels (with agencies consistently scoring themselves higher than advertisers). Both groups also gave themselves sub-60 scores for testing, which is often cited as an important piece of digital marketing, given the ease with which it can be conducted.



“Establishing a ‘test and learn' culture can be supported by creating personal targets in the marketing department for experimentation/innovation, and not creating penalties for failure,” Dominic Field, a partner at The Boston Consulting Group in London, tells Marketing Daily.

“It also requires careful coordination of campaign execution that many companies are eager to implement, but are struggling to do so,” adds report co-author and BCG partner David Ratajczak. “It requires new talent in-house and careful coordination with agencies and that's not just a cultural but also a procedural shift.”

The report’s authors said advertisers were lacking in understanding, vision, organizational support (particularly from the senior levels of marketing management), and measurement as an explanation for the stagnation of digital marketing prowess growth over the past 18 months. 

“While many marketing departments remain stuck in legacy models, many others are making moves to address organization structures to encourage joined-up thinking and acting to leverage technology to align against the customer journey,” Field says. “However, organization change takes time, it is complex and technology itself isn't standing still, so new organizational structures can quickly be outmoded.”

1 comment about "Advertisers' Digital Marketing Skills Remain Stagnant".
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  1. Michael Hubbard from Media Two Interactive, March 22, 2017 at 8:42 a.m.

    This might come off as a promotional plug, so I apologize - but I've felt this way for years, which is why our business is structured the way it is.  The digital space is changing and it's changing very quickly.  There are a lot of brilliant minds in the industry - and not just the digital industry, but the marketing industry as a whole.  The problme I've seen is that there aren't enough executional teams out there.  Meaning, someone that can keep up with the trends and do the dirty work for the strategic thinkers.  It's great to have a brilliant idea, but it needs to be executed on.  Ad operations has been deemed an "entry level" role, but try building anything on a shaky foundation, and you know what your end results will be.  Experience and execution can drive a marketers business partnered with brilliant strategy and creative.  The IAB now has more certification classes - so maybe it's time for the industry to take the time to take advantage, or to reach out to their local universities and offer to help build the talent pool with their knowledge.

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