UK Marketers in Need of #MarketingTherapy

At a roundtable discussion earlier this week, hosted by Kristin Brewe from the IAB and attended by industry experts, we explored new research* into what’s keeping 500 senior UK marketers awake at night.

It revealed marketers are suffering from a “digital disconnect” with less than 10 percent of senior UK marketers having full confidence in their own digital marketing skills [8%] or those of their teams [9%]. In addition, over 50 percent of marketers in the UK are not testing campaigns or content, relying instead on instinct.

This echoes research recently carried out in the US where just 9 percent of marketers are fully confident that their digital marketing is working, while 61 percent believe that for most companies, digital marketing approaches are a constant cycle of trial and error.

The problems in the UK are heightened by the fact that two thirds of marketing departments do not have a developed data analysis and insight strategy and so there is a lack of information as well as experience. The consensus at the roundtable was that the first step for marketers has to be to make digital a more central focus in their marketing strategy. They need to concentrate on the channels that will help them achieve their business goals.

I believe that at the moment many marketers don’t quite know what is working and don’t feel they have the necessary skills or experiences to succeed in the digital environment. They are finding it tough to stay up to date in such a rapidly changing industry and aren’t getting support or training. Our research showed that less than 3 percent of respondents received formal training. This is worrying, as despite not having full confidence in their teams, 51 percent of marketers rely on colleagues to keep up with the pace of digital marketing trends.

The lack of confidence is leading to key channels being overlooked and undervalued. Surprisingly, almost half of marketers admit to not having a mobile strategy in place, despite smartphone ownership reaching over two-thirds (68%)** of the UK population in June 2013 and mobile now accounting for 14** percent of all digital advertising spend. And only 27** percent of marketers are marketing at all through mobile channels.

Although marketers may not have full confidence in their skills or knowledge, most recognise just how big an opportunity there is in digital. For me, it is those who have the knowledge and insight and who are training their teams to be more ‘digital-ready’ who will be in the strongest position to capitalise on digital’s full promise.

On the topic of such low confidence amongst marketers in their digital skills, check out the short video below. Do you agree? It would be great to hear what you think #MarketingTherapy.

* Vision Critical conducted the research on behalf of Adobe via an online survey which among a total of 501 UK marketers between 11-14 October 2013, of which 90% of respondents are senior level or sole decision makers.  The remaining 10% were in more junior roles.  80% of the respondents were male, 20% female.

**Source: Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB) Digital Adspend report, conducted by PwC, with UKOM-approved comScore consumer data


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