Closing the Digital Performance Gap: Study Shows How Brands Plan to Meet Changing Consumer Expectations

According to a new Accenture Interactive report, Turbulence for the CMO, four in ten top marketing executives feel they are unprepared to meet their objectives due to a lack of funding and inefficient business practices. In light of these challenges, 70 percent of the executives polled believe that corporate marketing will undergo a dramatic shift within the next five years, and that in order to keep up with changing expectations and an increasingly complicated customer environment, their organizations must focus on digital marketing and analytics.

“Marketing executives are growing increasingly concerned that tight budgets and the lack of a clear strategy for implementing digital technologies are hurting their company’s ability to compete in the digital age,” said Brian Whipple, global managing director of Accenture Interactive. “There is a clear performance gap between the demands of the marketplace and the ability of marketing organizations to apply the digital technology talent required to be more effective.”

This shift in focus is translating into changes in two major areas: increased investment in digital capabilities, and improved collaboration between in-house and agency marketing and communications efforts. Here’s how the results of the survey break down regarding those two major categories:

Increased Investment in Digital Capabilities:

  • 66 percent of marketing executives said they will allocate at least one quarter of their budget to digital marketing next year.
  • 23 percent said that more than half of their spending will be dedicated to digital marketing.
  • 48 percent said they would spend more on managing customer data.
  • 40 percent will increase spending on web analytics.
  • 39 percent will spend more on marketing analytics.
  • Half of the executives polled said they plan to initiate an internal reorganization to become more digitally focused, while over half said they plan to hire more people with the necessary digital skills.

Improved Internal and Agency Collaboration:

  • 55 percent of marketing executives said they were satisfied with the level of collaboration with their outside agencies. However, the rest of the results indicate a less positive experience.
  • Only 36 percent said that their agencies execute flawlessly.
  • 36 percent said that the agencies are not able to deliver what they promised.
  • Only 44 percent said that agency partners help marketing executives transform their marketing organization.

This indicates that greater collaboration between in-house and agency efforts may help smooth the transition to digitally-focused marketing.

“The growing investment in digital capabilities will help marketing executives improve their understanding of changing consumer needs and manage multiple channels,” said Whipple. “However, improved performance will require more than new digital and analytics talent. The challenge of digital transformation is how to implement beyond marketing and across the entire enterprise.”

We’d love to hear from you marketing professionals out there. Do these survey results align with your own challenges and goals, or are you experiencing something all-together different?