Digital age impact: majority of marketers expect role change next year

A study conducted by Adobe reveals that 64 percent of marketers expect their role to change in the next year and 81 percent believe their role will change in the next three years; however, the path to reinvention remains a challenge.

The study, Digital Roadblock: Marketers Struggle to Reinvent Themselves was based on a survey of more than 1,000 marketing professionals in the U.S. It explores the attitudes and beliefs of marketers as they struggle to redefine their roles and expand their skills.

While 40 percent of marketers stated that they want to reinvent themselves, only 14 percent of those marketers actually know how to go about it, Adobe study said.

Digital age impact

Lack of training in new marketing skills (30 percent) and organizational inability to adapt (30 percent) are cited among the top obstacles to becoming the marketers they aspire to be.

According to the survey, 54 percent of marketers said they should take more risks, and 45 percent said they hope to take more risks themselves.

On the topic of new technologies, marketers are generally playing it safe, with 65 percent saying they are more comfortable adopting new technologies once they become mainstream.

There is also a gap between marketers in high-spend companies (that spend more than 25 percent of their marketing budget on digital campaigns) and low digital-spend companies. Marketers in high digital-spend companies are more likely to believe (82 percent) they need to reinvent themselves to succeed, versus low digital-spend companies (67 percent).

Marketers from high-performing companies are three times more likely (23 percent) to say they know how to reinvent themselves than low performers (8 percent).

“The shift to digital requires new technology, new approaches and, in many cases, entirely new roles for marketers,” said Ann Lewnes, chief marketing officer for Adobe. “The good news is that marketers see the change in front of them, and understand they need to embrace data, focus on creating personalized experiences and work across their social, Web and mobile channels.”

More than three fourth of marketers (76 percent) agreed they need to be more data-focused to succeed, but 49 percent report “trusting my gut” to guide decisions on where to invest their marketing budgets. Seventy-two percent of marketers agree their long-term success is tied to proving marketing return on investment.

Seventy-four percent of marketers say that capturing and applying data to inform and drive marketing activities is the new reality, and 69 percent agree on the need to embrace “hyper personalization” (i.e., using data to provide the right products, services and content at the right time). Yet only 39 percent of marketers report using consumer data and behavior patterns to shape marketing strategy in the past 12 months; 45 percent plan to use more consumer data and behavior in the next 12 months.

Sixty-nine percent of marketers agree that mobile is a critical element to get right. In terms of media types and platforms, 61 percent of marketers see social media as the most critical area of focus 12 months from now, followed closely by mobile at 51 percent. Print (9 percent) and TV (7 percent) ranked last.

Sixty-three percent of marketers said they were doing more social marketing compared to last year, and more than half said they were doing more direct customer engagement via e-mail (51 percent) and digital analytics (51 percent) than they were in 2013.

Marketers cited digital/social marketer (47 percent), data analyst (38 percent), creative services (38 percent) and mobile marketer (36 percent) as key roles companies need to invest in over the next 12 months.

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