Study: Marketers Behind the Technology Curve

Though the majority of marketers believe they have a good grasp of new marketing technologies, their actual implementation and use of new technologies may be lacking in many cases, according to a new study from the CMO Council and Promotion Marketing Association (PMA).

The study finds more than 90 percent of marketers recognize the significance of using new technologies, such as email, Web sites, and online advertising, but only 53 percent have deployed such tools extensively.

“Marketers may think they know a lot about technology, but less than half of them know what they should know,” said Scott Van Camp, editorial director of the CMO Council. “The knowledge gap is interesting.”

The “Digital Directions Survey” was conducted in the second half of 2004, polling 256 top marketing decision makers in a variety of industry sectors, including consumer packaged goods, entertainment, financial services, and IT.

The study found that despite the gap between awareness and implementation, substantial progress has been made, particularly among brand marketers, in embracing at least the more basic forms of Internet-based technologies. About 98.4 percent of respondents said their companies use Web sites “not just as an online channel, but as a way to interact directly with consumers,” said Claire Rosenzweig, president of the PMA.

Approximately 92 percent use email in their promotional campaigns. Almost 69 percent use some form of online advertising, whether a display or paid search ad. Additionally, 67 percent use some form of Web event or viral program to build brand awareness.

“For me, it is striking how far brand marketers have come since four or five years ago, when many of them were reluctant to turn to the Web with their campaigns,” Rosenzweig said. “But clearly there is still a long way for them to go.”

The top problems respondents perceive in using the Internet for promotional programs centered around consumers’ privacy and security concerns: the leading concern identified by 63 percent of respondents was email spam; 49 percent identified “privacy” in general; approximately 44 percent feared a fallout from an “overload of digital offers,” reducing the effectiveness of their campaigns; and 31 percent were concerned their online promotions would be considered too invasive.

The study also shows the majority of marketers feel younger demographics of Internet users are most likely to be receptive to their online promotions. Approximately 80 percent of marketers named college students as the most receptive audience to digital campaigns; about 75 percent identified teenagers; and 62 percent picked males, aged 18 to 34.

The least receptive groups to online campaigns identified by respondents are Hispanics, African Americans, senior citizens, and business professionals. Each of these categories was identified by fewer than 10 percent of respondents.

“I was surprised by the low ratings for minorities,” Van Camp said, “because tremendous efforts have been made to reach these groups, a strong percentage of which are considered early adopters of cell phones and other technologies.”

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