Marketing in a tech-heavy world isn’t so easy

October 26, 2016

Technology: can’t live without it; can’t live with it. New research has revealed that marketers are having real trouble keeping up with new technologies, despite being crucially aware that they’re vital to what they do.

Adobe’s annual Digital Roadblock study shows that 55% of marketers in the UK worry about their technology-based skill sets, compared to the European average of 44%.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of the 450 UK marketers questioned said they see new technologies as crucial to building successful marketing strategies, but just over half (54%) feel they actually have the skills to implement them.

The discord doesn’t end there: 41% of respondents cited being a ‘tech-savvy’ early adopter of new technologies as the top attribute of being a marketer, but only 15% actually identify as ‘tech-savvy’ themselves. That’s less than the 20% who identify as ‘tech challenged’.

It appears that the accelerated pace of digital transformation is what’s causing marketers to fall out of touch with new technology – two-thirds (65%) of those polled believe that the pace of digital transformation within the marketing industry has been dramatic.

Over four in five (83%) still see digital transformation as an opportunity, all the same, it’s just that they’re not managing to harness it in the way they would like.

Marketers feeling the pressure

Technology, ironically, can help take the pressure off for marketers – but only if you know how to implement, of course. Now, it seems, is the optimum time to learn about the technology that can provide a competitive edge, with two-thirds (65%) of marketers feeling that marketing is now more responsible for revenue contribution compared to 2015.

It’s not only the C-suite that now have higher expectations of marketing teams; customers’ expectations are sky-high, too. More than three-quarters (77%) of marketers report that consumers expect an immediate response to a query, and 72% believe they expect more compelling content. Again, technology can help here, but that requires marketers to be getting enough support to be able to put it to good use.

Support seems to be lacking

Support seems to be a real issue for marketers, with a lack of resources and budget cited by 38% as the biggest barrier to success, followed by a lack of training in new marketing skills (24%).

In order to use technology to its full potential, marketers will need training of some sort, otherwise they can’t be sure that they’re making the best use of their time. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, nearly half (47%) of marketers aren’t confident that they know whether their digital marketing is working or not. Far from ideal given that big data and marketing measurement are considered to be two of the most critical marketing tactics for the next three years

The ability to work across multiple channels is also seen as crucial to future success, with 71% of those surveyed stating that the proliferation of channels is fundamentally changing the nature of marketing.

However, it’s only going to be possible for marketers to serve their customers as they expect to be served if they are given due support, says John Watton, Head of EME Marketing, Adobe.

“It’s clear from what marketers are telling us is that they are really feeling squeezed,” he commented. “On the one hand they are expected to contribute more to the business and on the other, they have customers expecting instant responses and incredible experiences each and every time they interact with a brand. Furthermore, they are having to grapple with many new techniques for reaching customers and having to step out of their marketing heartland into sales and customer services.”

More investment in training is vital, he added, but marketers themselves have a responsibility to ensure that they remain focussed on proving their customers with the best possible experience they can.

With this in mind, the advice of Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Professor of Business Psychology, University College London & Columbia University, is to:

  • Keep learning. Make sure you’re keeping your end of the bargain by remaining up-to-date with the new technologies that are sweeping the industry.
  • Never stop thinking. Everybody has access to technology, but it is the “ideas and intuition” that determine what is made of it.
  • Incorporate some offline time. Being constantly switched-on to the online world gives your brain no space to breathe. Indulging in a digital detox can help get those creative juices flowing.
  • Focus on productivity. There is so much technology available to marketers; it’s little wonder you might be feeling overwhelmed. However, focussing on the tech that makes you more productive will naturally filter out superfluous solutions.
  • Buddy up with the geeks. Go out of your way to speak to the people who thrive on new tech. Learn from them, asking them to help with your tech issues.

The last piece of advice is something we’d endorse wholeheartedly at Proctors. You won’t find a group more accommodating and helpful then the techies. They’ll help you see technology as an aid again, rather than a hindrance.

Dan Vivian - Business Development & Marketing Director