E-Marketing Efforts Leave Room for Improvement

More than one-third (38.9 percent) of companies that participated in a collaborative study by the CMO Council, BtoB Magazine, USA Today, and Responsys would give their marketing departments a grade of “C” or below in terms of how well they understand sophisticated digital marketing. The survey of more than 400 top marketing decision-makers in North America revealed that while strides are being made online, there is still considerable room for improvement.

While 64 percent reported that digital marketing was of high strategic importance, most of the respondents – 43.6 percent – assigned a grade of “B” to their marketing department’s efforts, and only 17.6 percent were comfortable assigning an “A” grade. Better grades may be earned during 2004, however, when 39 percent of respondents planned on spending more than 20 percent of their marketing budgets on digital campaigns. More than three-quarters of survey participants in the technology sector were increasing their digital marketing budgets from the 11 to 20 percent that most indicated as the allotment in 2003.

Driven by low implementation costs, speedy delivery and customer response, and measurable ROI, companies are deploying digital marketing campaigns for a multitude of reasons that include both new and existing customers.

For what purpose is digital
marketing being employed in
your company?
New customer lead generation 84.5%
Brand awareness and recognition 70.7%
Improved customer relationships 67.7%
Cross-sell and up-sell
to existing customers
Web site traffic generation 59.9%
Customer education 54.4%
Customer support 46.8%
Event promotion 45.1%
Product sales 41.6%
Source: the CMO Council, BtoB Magazine, USA Today,
and Responsys

E-mail marketing is high on the list of digital enhancements in 2004. More than half of the survey participants indicated that customer profiling and analytics would improve over the coming year, along with better integration of online and offline marketing channels and touchpoints. Nearly half of all respondents will seek to integrate email campaigns with personalized Web site interactions with customers, while roughly the same number strive for better measurement of their email campaigns.

Competition for space in inboxes and spam filters are among the obstacles faced by digital marketers, however, Responsys says that the concepts are not mutually exclusive. “Marketers are fighting both [spam filters and inbox clutter] at the same time which is why this is such a challenging time for legitimate, permission-based marketers. Filters are an imperfect way for ISPs, corporations, and individuals to try to identify unwanted email. ‘False positives’ are increasingly common leaving these legitimate marketers in the awkward position of needing to review/edit their creative with filters in mind. The types of formatting, words and phrases that have typically helped lift response are also the same factors that can get a company’s email blocked,” commented Melissa Shaw, principal, Strategic Services, Responsys.

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