Digital marketing is no longer driven by the “smoke and mirrors” ethos, with nearly three-quarters of brands embracing insights derived from consumer data to drive their marketing strategy.
That is one of the key findings from a new WARC report, State of the Industry 2022: Modern Marketing in EMEA, published in association with industry body the MMA, and based on a survey with 700+ marketing professionals carried out in May and June this year.
It reveals that the pandemic has resulted in improved digital marketing capabilities but driving growth in the digital age brings new complexities and marketing needs.
While marketing professionals and their agencies often talked the talked on data-driven activity, in reality, most failed to walk the walk. But now data is finally a key building-block in digital marketing strategies and is being used widely to drive improvements in marketing, with 73% of respondents saying their marketing strategy is now led by consumer data insights.
Looking to the future, over a third (38%) of marketing professionals are preparing for the advancement of Web3, while nearly half (44%) expect the metaverse to have a major impact on marketing within five years.
However, the quest for personalisation means that AI and machine learning is the technology expected to have the most impact on marketing over the next five years, cited by 53% of the survey respondents, up from 49% in 2021.
Even so, there are still challenges ahead, as despite brand awareness and generating sales being two key priorities in digital marketing, marketers are not always using metrics that enable them to measure brand and business outcomes. Metrics most used include engagement (68%), business (54%) and attitudinal (30%).
In fact, both skills (41%) and measurement (39%) are recognised as key barriers to growth in marketing across the EMEA region.
WARC managing editor Paul Stringer said: “As a result of the pandemic, we observe a general improvement in organisations’ digital capabilities. However, measurement and skills’ gaps are clear areas of concern for the industry.
“It is also interesting to observe marketing professionals say they are preparing for the advancement of Web3, which promises to open up new creative and commercial opportunities for brands.”
MMA managing director for EMEA Chris Babayode added: “In these challenging times, it’s particularly gratifying to be able to provide insights and science backed truths as to how and where the marketing community can drive their future growth.
“One significant takeaway we found was that data is a key building-block in digital marketing strategies and is being leveraged widely to drive improvements in marketing.”
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