As most of us know, majority of global marketers have geared up to increase the size of their marketing budgets for 2012 – A positive outlook from marketing leadership to adopt the new forms of technologies, where social being is looked as a channel and mobile going beyond just a smart phone device. While the trend is on the rise, we expect to see a shift in marketing budgets from traditional to more digital forms such as email marketing, mobile marketing, and social media. The following factors will primarily drive this growth in coming few years.
- Ever increased customers’ digital footprint: With the intensified pace of globalization, everything around us is getting influenced much faster, causing the increase in communication between customers. Today, the customers have instant access to all information about products/services that will directly impact on company’s sales and brand reputation.
- Changing mindsets about emerging technologies: Consumers wish to experience content in whatever way possible to them and digital marketers will not only restrict to campaigns, that include TV, search and display ads, but also connect with today’s unique and empowered consumers with messages tailored to their smart phones and tablets.
- Integration of social media into business: Everyone is talking about social and going forward, we will see more social integration with customer relations, sales and marketing functions. Enterprises have started leveraging social media to generate leads and sales for their ventures; also they strive for success in social world and exploring opportunities on how can social help create a road ahead.
- Adoption of mobile commerce: As consumers spend more time engaging with smart devices, their eagerness to make purchase through smart devices will increase. This means marketing professionals will have a greater opportunity to reach out to their customers through mobile interactions.
- Improve decision making and customer relationships: Digital marketing is influencing customers’ purchasing behavior more than ever - by looking into customer data, marketers need to go beyond awareness and direct response campaigns, and start influencing the purchase decision-making process, to increase value throughout the customer life cycle.
Contrary to the above facts, marketers are still cautiously raising their budgets and uncertain about their customer confidence. According to Forrester’s Global Marketing Leadership Online survey, marketers will increase marketing spend for 2012, but hold back on committing to plans.
What are the common barriers?
- Global economic recovery remains uncertain: The global economic uncertainty has particularly affected growth in many industrialized nations, resulting global marketers to become very sensitive and cautious.
- Traditional views on planning the budgets: Forrester survey results suggest - organizations are still planning budgets using traditional methods where budgets are built on the basis of prior years’ spending or calculated as a percentage of sales.
- Lack of experienced professionals: A real challenge for marketers to find skilled professionals in order to implement a digital strategy – A reason, they fail to understand their audiences and continue to invest efforts in wrong directions.
Digital marketing means more customer focus – Today’s digital revolution has certainly transformed the entire business eco-system, but at the same time it’s providing some unique opportunities to engage with customers. As customers gain increasing power over suppliers through mobile and social technologies, the ability to consistently deliver compelling customer experiences will be critical for driving growth.
Gartner says, by 2015, digital strategies, such as social and mobile marketing, will influence at least 80 percent of consumers' discretionary spending, that means enough opportunities for digital marketers to achieve greater flexibility and better outcome (that is directly linked to increased demand for their products and sales).
Remember, customers are more passionate and confident about digital communication, as they explore the world on their smart phone devices and researching about your products/services on social networking sites, they are getting less tolerant of any meaningless information and more receptive towards integrated marketing.
Questions to be considered for digital marketers:
- How do you know your target customers and their perceptions about your brand?
- Are you clear on understanding of your customers’ challenges and priorities?
- How are current market sentiments affecting your customers’ buying patterns (i.e. behavior and attitude)?
- Are you investing in sales channels to get intelligence about your customers?
So, Isn’t it right to say that business leaders, showing reluctance towards their digital investments leads to a greater risk and future uncertainties? On the other hand, industry competitors are making progress in their digital journey and reaching customers out in a real-time manner. It’s time for business leaders to lead the way when it comes to digital marketing and recognize the potential of digital.