The above findings stand in contrast to the fact that 60 per cent of marketers say they have strong senior management support for digital efforts.
According to Liz Miller, senior vice president of the CMO Council, who has led a number of joint studies with Adobe, most marketers in Asia-Pacific still haven't “cracked the ability” to justify the relationship between their digital marketing activities and contribution to business growth.
Miller’s remarks are based on APAC Digital Directions, a survey conducted by the CMO Council with 648 respondents from eight Asia-Pacific countries. The report revealed the progress that the region’s enterprises are making in their own digital journeys and picks up from the last study, which highlighted a gap in digital skills and maturity across the region.
Findings from the research are based on data collected from markets across Asia Pacific, with 57 per cent of respondents working in organisations with turnover of US$1.1 billion or greater.
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“In this study, we’re seeing the impact of not being able to close the skills gap quickly enough,” said Miller. “Marketers in Asia are having difficulty making a business case for digital marketing because they're stuck in a campaign mindset.”
At the same time, the study indicates that few brands see data as a competitive advantage, and the root cause it that marketers are finding it hard “to get data right”. In Asia, marketers are using analytics to report on past performance rather than to gain insights that suggest future courses of action, Miller said.
Regarding talent, Miller observed that “intense pockets of digital talent” exist, in which advanced digital marketing initiatives are being carried out at a level far above the average.
“When you look at the digital leaders, they go into the boardroom talking about impacting the bottom line,” said Miller, who added that for many years, marketers weren’t trained to talk in dollars and cents.”
“It’s not just about the last sponsorship or billboard anymore,” said Miller. “Now marketers need to step into the role of business.”
More insights taken verbatim from the report:
- Digital is critical: 93 per cent of marketers surveyed believe that digital engagements will drive competitive advantage for their brands.
- Management is embracing digital: 60 per cent say they have strong senior-management support, including a receptivity to piloting and testing more digital engagements.
- Data, insights and analytics are becoming core competencies for leaders. Three out of four marketers are currently using some form of analytics and reporting technologies while 70 per cent are actively measuring outcomes and performance.
- Data is not an advantage yet. Only 7 per cent of marketers see data as a competitive advantage for their brands. The majority—37 per cent—are only using data as a way to report on past performance instead of looking forward.
- The skills gap is not closing quickly enough. Marketers are questioning whether they have the right skills in place, both in-house and with their agency partners.
- Marketers have questions and management has doubts: Marketers are questioning digital’s ability to reach and engage customers just as a crisis in measuring value to the business heightens. Even in leading regions like Australia, only 32 per cent believe that their ability to report on digital’s value to the business and actual engagement with customers is excellent. In markets like China, only 9 per cent give themselves top marks in making a business case.