Umang Bedi, Managing Director – South Asia, Adobe Systems
The 3rd annual Digital Marketing Performance Dashboard, a research by Adobe partners with CMO Council, divulges larger growth opportunities for Indian marketers as India emerges as one of the digital marketing leaders in the region behind Australia. CMOs are beginning to realise that technology is interlaced with their ability to execute in today’s digitised market space and specially, Indian marketers view IT as a big contributor in deploying digital marketing solutions.
This year the survey highlights that Indian marketers are reflecting on the efficacy of their campaigns and shifting from a tactical campaign-specific, KPI-driven approach, to demonstrating the business impact and value of digital as a strategy to engage customers. India is going through the same stage of advancement that was noticed in mature markets like Australia and North America a while back. This is in correlation with the increasing digital footprint of consumers in the country, making it extremely important for marketers in India to utlise digital to their benefit and enter the next phase of digital advancement.
Here are some findings for India:
Confidence in digital marketing is growing but marketers question engagement and activation
The dynamics of the Indian Market have changed. eCommerce has evolved in terms of magnitude. Mobile users are proliferating. As entrepreneurs receive a platform through digital, startups are mushrooming. In such a context, digital marketing is not only witnessing a higher adoption rate, but also becoming a strategic function of organizations. 96% of the Indian marketers have high confidence in the ability of digital marketing to drive competitive advantage. This is amongst the highest in APAC with only Australia leading with 97%.
However, while Indian marketers believe that the key driver to adopting digital is the ever-growing internet population (70% in India vs. 59% in APAC), their belief that customer preference and digital dependence drive the adoption of digital, and digital can engage and activate the audience, is lower than the APAC averages. Customer preference and digital dependence would increase along with the increase in penetration of internet in the Indian market. Therefore, what would matter is how the Indian marketers are able to increase engagement and activate audience through digital marketing. This presents challenges in program planning, execution and most importantly measurement.
The role stakeholders in driving digital marketing
Overall, digital marketing performance is improving across APAC, especially with regard to organizational alignment. For India, organizational alignment is at par with APAC and at the same level as 2013. Strong senior management support and receptivity to piloting and testing is less for India than the APAC average. Senior management is now shifting focus from piloting and testing, to committing to the programs in place, and giving priority to establish a strong digital marketing base before exploring newer areas. Good news however is that Indian marketers have been able to keep to the same level of digital champions on the leadership team as last year.
As compared to their APAC counterparts, Indian marketers are receiving lesser support from channel and sales teams for increasing digital spends. However they’re doing better as compared to last year suggesting that departments that have a customer interface are realizing the importance of digital marketing in augmenting their efforts. This is a critical learning and reinforces the importance of digital marketing in the integrated marketing plans of organizations.
Over 29% of marketers in India believe that IT is a big contributor and active partner in selecting and deploying digital marketing solutions. This percentage is much higher than the rest of APAC which is suggestive of an internal mandate from the Leadership to IT on digital.
High use of analytics but are they understanding ROI?
Indian marketers are more confident than their APAC counterparts overall in their marketing maturity (58% feel they are high or progressive in marketing maturity as compared to 35% in APAC). And more Indian marketers are using analytics and measurement technologies to prove the value of digital – 74% Indian marketers are currently measuring and testing results of digital marketing campaigns as compared with only 69% average in APAC. However, their understanding of digital marketing effectiveness is very much in the developing stage (company’s ability to measure value of digital and its ROI: getting better – 43%; needs improvement – 31%; high on excellence – 5%). Marketers are measuring more than ever. However the value of digital and data can be demonstrated by using it to create differentiated advantage and driving connected relationship strategy for the business.
Talent gap continues to challenge marketers
On an average of last three years, 18.7% Indian companies have an experienced, dedicated, in-house staff for digital marketing analysis; 5% higher than the APAC average – 30% of them have a dedicated director of digital. However a very measly percentage of marketers believe that data is integrated throughout the marketing lifecycle.
Across the board, marketers are disappointed in their agencies’ effectiveness across strategy, execution and measurement. Clearly, better progress is needed in the region to narrow the gaps in skills and talent. India has made progress by increasing in house talent but more needs to be done. Data is the backbone for business and marketers, and India has the potential to be the center-of-excellence for data. We’ve got a big opportunity ahead of us and organizations need to act fast and invest in skills development.
Interested in finding out how else Indian marketers fared in comparison to the rest of the APAC? Check out the links below: