A number of years ago, I attended a lecture given by physicist and author Taner Edis. I was intrigued to hear him remark that many scientists enjoy science fiction and that he enjoyed “playing fast and loose” with the laws of physics. He understood that was fantasy. Reflecting on those remarks made me more deeply consider the findings of the recent survey, “Digital Roadblock: Marketers Struggle to Reinvent Themselves,” which I touched upon briefly in my recent post Generosity of Spirit: Found by SEO.
Among many interesting findings, the survey reported that while 76% of marketing respondents agree they need to be more data-focused to succeed, 49% of marketers reported “trusting my gut” to guide decisions on where to invest their marketing budgets. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that people who trust their gut are simply living in a fantasy world and I understand that some people do have an uncanny ability to make good decisions. However, unless you are a sole proprietor, you may have to support your theories, proposals, suggestions, and insights with data. Even CEOs are not immune and will be held to account by a board of directors and stockholders.
Today, there are many tools to gather real-time data, test and target digital experiences, and tools for forecasting and predictive analysis, among many more. I find it somewhat puzzling that these resources have not been entirely embraced, with brands sticking with traditional outlets.. I imagine cavemen, trading stones, bones, and primitive tools, wishing they had more advanced marketing capabilities.
Significant Stakes in Today’s World
Moreover, in today’s world, the stakes are significant. Mediabistro recently reported that the world of e-commerce generates a staggering figure of over $1.2 million dollars every 30 seconds, with close to $1 million attributed to desktop sales and $269,683 attributed to mobile sales. With figures such as these, even a great gut calculator might appreciate a second opinion.
So, why isn’t data-driven decision making more fully embraced? Another finding of note from the survey might help to answer this question. Sixty-five percent of the marketing respondents say they are more comfortable adopting new technologies once they become mainstream. Ah, here is a chicken-and-egg problem. New technologies won’t become mainstream until enough marketers have tried and tested them and not enough marketers are comfortable adopting new technologies until they have become mainstream.
Your Help Requested to Clear Roadblocks to Engaging Fully with the Digital World
Being a proponent of data -riven decision making, I am genuinely interested in this conundrum; and, if you are reading this post, hopefully you are as well. So, I intend to take on a rather formidable task; but, I trust, not alone. Listed below are a number of issues that marketers have identified as obstacles or roadblocks to reinventing themselves and operating in this digital age.
I intend to address each of these issues and suggest solutions, so this will be quite a series of related posts, and I hope that you will send me your comments and insights because I am sure that I do not have all of the answers.
Roadblocks and Issues Identified by Marketers in the Digital Age
Category I: Marketers recognize the importance of data, but aren’t widely using it to make informed decisions:
-76% of marketers agree they need to be more data-focused to succeed.
-49% of marketers report “trusting my gut” to guide decisions on where to invest their marketing budgets while 52% rely more on data and analytics to guide their creative decisions
-72% of marketers agree that long-term success at their company is tied to proving marketing
return on investment.
Category II: Future marketers need to take more risks:
-54% of marketers believe the ideal marketer should take more risks, 45% hope to take more risks themselves, while 25% self-identify as cautious.
-65% of marketers say they are more comfortable adopting new technologies once they become mainstream.
Category III: Marketers know they must reinvent themselves, but don’t know how:
– 64% of marketers expect their role to change in the next year; 81% in the next 3 years.
-While 40% of marketers surveyed stated that they wanted to reinvent themselves, only 14% of those marketers actually know how to go about it.
-Lack of training in new marketing skills (30%) and organizational inability to adapt (30%) are cited as key obstacles to becoming the marketers they aspire to be.
Category IV: Companies need to hire more digital talent:
-Marketers cite digital/social marketers (47%), data analysts (38%), creatives (38%), and mobile marketers (36%) as the key roles in which companies need to invest over the next 12 months.
Category V: Mobile and personalization are becoming bigger priorities:
– 61% of marketers see social media as the most critical marketing vehicle to focus on a year from now, followed closely by mobile at 51%. When asked to prioritize one capability that will be most important to their company’s marketing moving forward, personalization ranked highest.
As a fellow digital marketer, I welcome your comments and insights on any or all of the above issues. Together may we remove barriers to data-driven decision making.