Even as companies become more confident in the efficacy of digital channels, the executives charged with managing them are struggling to validate their investments and even to build business cases according to the latest Adobe/CMO Council research.
But first the good news. According to the study, marketers increasingly believe that that digital is enabling engagement through continuous touchpoints connecting brands directly with customers. “Some 66 percent of respondents say digital is enabling additional touchpoints and opportunities while nearly half say digital is delivering more cost-effective customer acquisition. Interestingly, 41 percent believe customer loyalty is improving thanks to digital, and 33 percent say that digital is improving the customer experience and overall responsiveness.”
Yet the confidence in digital has remarkably shallow roots. Indeed the authors says that the bravado falls off significantly when it comes to digital serving as a source of customer intelligence that can impact the business, for example. “While some 42 percent believe that digital provides data that can improve campaign effectiveness and targeting, only one in four respondents believes that digital’s greatest impact on the business comes in the form of knowledge and insights that can help to improve products, solutions or services. Surprisingly, only 21 percent believe digital can increase transactional volumes, revenue and margins, which is likely more telling of marketing’s insistence to measure based on campaign performance rather than on solid business value measures.”
The third annual Adobe APAC Digital Directions study is built upon 648 respondents in Australia, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and India and finds that budgets remains tight and that digital capabilities – especially in agencies – are constrained.
Australian marketers generally rated at the top of the charts for digital maturity. “Across the four key areas of digital marketing performance—mindset, marketing readiness, organisational alignment and marketing skills—Australia emerged as the clear leader in all four categories. Not only are marketers in Australia leading the digital marketing charge, but they are also beginning to pull away from regions like South Korea, which continue to struggle with senior management mindsets and a talent gap that is proving difficult to overcome.”
However even in the region’s most advanced digital market the authors find room for significant improvements.