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Marketers Uncertain About Future Digital Marketing Priorities

Personalization and targeting are areas of discomfort

October 7, 2013

If there’s one truism in marketing, it’s that things are always changing. And digital technologies have no doubt accelerated that pace. A September 2013 survey of US marketers from Adobe found that identifying the most important marketing issues coming over the horizon was a significant challenge for many of these professionals.

In fact, there was no clear consensus among respondents about which marketing area would be the most important in the next three years. A similar number—between 10% and 13%—of respondents named social media marketing, personalization and targeting, creativity and innovation in marketing programs, digital advertising, and cross-channel marketing as important areas on which to focus their upcoming marketing efforts. There did, however, seem to be more agreement on areas of decreasing importance: Very few respondents named events and public relations as having major significance in the near future.

Most Important Marketing Areas in the Next Three Years According to US Marketers, Sep 2013 (% of respondents)

Marketers also had varied feelings on whether they were adequately equipped to handle all of the increasingly disparate tasks that they are being charged with. Seven in 10 respondents were confident when it came to brand building, 62% felt comfortable with content marketing, and just less than three-fifths were upbeat about their execution of digital advertising strategies in general. Marketers were much less confident about their grasp of personalization and targeting, as well as ecommerce issues.

Marketing Areas US Marketers Are Most Confident Executing, Sep 2013 (% of respondents)

Marketers are also feeling the pressure of delivering return on investment (ROI). More than two-thirds of those polled felt that they were under the gun to show some kind of quantifiable results to their marketing efforts. And less than half of respondents expressed confidence that their digital marketing strategies actually worked. Even if they haven’t mastered digital yet, though—or figured out its dollar dividend—nearly two-thirds of respondents, nonetheless, believed that a digital strategy was a necessary part of their company’s path to success.

The practice of marketing remains firmly entrenched in a state of flux. And marketers are well aware of that—76% of those polled said marketing had changed more in the past two years than it had in the previous 50. And this state of constant change shows no sign of abating anytime soon.

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