Marketers need new data, mobile skills

11 January 2013

NEW YORK: Enhancing data analytics capabilities, embracing automation and adopting a "mobile first" strategy are among the core trends reshaping the marketing industry this year, a study has argued.

A report from IDC, the insights group, said members of the "C-suite" – like the chief executive and chief operating officer – will "demand" plans and initiatives showing that "market-driven data" can deliver results.

Chief marketing officers (CMOs) and chief information officers are also due to move from being "functional peers" to "friends or frenemies" as their activities become increasingly interlinked.

"The challenge for the CMO is dealing with self-educated buyers. These are the smart, resourceful, and socially connected consumers who do their own research before ever entering the formal channels of a vendor's marketing and selling apparatus," Rich Vancil, IDC group vice president, said. "In the wake of all of their self-education is a stream of data that the CMO will have to understand."

Spending on automating processes – covering fields like real-time bidding, email and social media analytics – will take around 10% of discretionary marketing budgets this year, it added.

More specifically, marketing units will contribute two-thirds of expenditure on this area in 2012, with IT providing one third. The market leaders should achieve a 50–50 balance here in 2014, IDC said.

Despite focusing on such issues, many CMOs may "find that their positions are in jeopardy", it was predicted, unless they build robust data analytics capabilities.

As a correlate of this trend, some 50% of new hires in marketing teams are set to come from technical backgrounds from 2013 onwards, as existing staff do not possess the right skills to conduct analytics.

Reflecting this shift, many old customer relationship management systems will be replaced. Marketers are also likely to focus less on "big platform projects " and more on "audience needs".

Elsewhere, it was suggested that 80% of firms should see growth in their social media initiatives fuelled by divisions outside marketing, as functions from R&D to human resources tap this channel.

A further 5% of CMOs are expected to pursue a "mobile first" strategy by the end of 2013, IDC said. Mondelez International, the snacks firm which split off from Kraft Foods, has already assumed this position.

"Our goal is to become one of the top mobile marketers in the world. By investing 10% of our global marketing budget in mobile, we believe we will open opportunities in the marketplace," said Bonin Bough, its vice president, global media and consumer engagement.

The benefits of stronger automation and analytics could become tangible, with a 20% improvement in target-to-deal ratios and a 10% decline cost in the cost to "create a customer", IDC stated.

Data sourced from IDC; additional content by Warc staff