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Igniting digital marketing

Marketing directors and chief marketing officers (CMOs) need to become more immersed in digital technology and its role in customer engagement and conversion if they are to help their organisations prosper over the next five years.

A recent Digital Ignition Symposium in Cape Town, a number of trends and current challenges were explored and exposed.

Gartner predicts that the CMO will outspend the chief information officer (CIO) on IT by 2017 as control of technology budgets shift towards the marketing department. This trend is being driven by marketing’s increasing dependence on technology as digital channels proliferate and huge volumes of customer data are collected.

Liz Miller from the CMO Council spoke about the enormous pressure marketers are coming under to understand technology at a deeper level. This is causing considerable tension between traditional IT teams and marketing, as they start having to learn to speak each other’s language. She noted that only 32% are working with IT to specify needs and requirements and even fewer (26%) are developing multidisciplinary task forces to lead the assessment process.

Marketers are being required to automate operations and increase efficiency by using digital channels. They are also expected to use analytics to understand customer data better so that they can personalise communications and target them more effectively.  Marketing departments must also show that they have the metrics to demonstrate return on investment to line of business management and the board of directors. This all means that better data, better systems integration and better automation platforms are absolutely central in any senior marketing manager’s life.

The challenge is in the data, a fact that Jason Bigler of Google reinforced.. A proliferation of information requires that marketers will be looking to a new set of skills. Di Charton from Acceleration Media noted that, with social set to become an even bigger play and the continuing growth of that display, the understanding of attribution and remarketing is on an upward spiral.

This, in combination with affiliate programs, email, SEO and SEM, means that today’s digital marketers are facing a real challenge of not only managing the data, but being able to action it. Cameron Hulett, Acceleration’s Executive – Head of Solution Strategy, Sales and Marketing said that strategy, technology architecture and data management are no longer optional, but critical. They are currently a competitive advantage for those companies doing it right. However, without strong foundations and absolute understanding of their data, the cost of being able to compete in the digital space will grow exponentially for those companies who are not prepared to invest or who keep looking for free and cheaper options. As a result, they risk losing control of their data and, ultimately, their customers.

Richard MullinsManaging Director - Europe, Middle East & Africa
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In his role as MD, Richard is responsible for the growth and success of Acceleration clients across Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

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