SYDNEY: When it comes to digital marketing Australia is emerging as a regional centre of excellence, a new survey has said.

The CMO Council's third annual Asia-Pacific Digital Marketing Performance Dashboard, produced in partnership with Adobe, was based on survey responses from 807 senior marketers across Asia-Pacific.

Over a range of measures – marketing skill levels, levels, organisational alignment around digital marketing, marketing readiness and attitude towards digital adoption – Australia outperformed others in the region, including China, India, Singapore, Korea and Hong Kong.

In Australia, for example, 54% of organisations surveyed said chief marketing executives were in charge of their company's digital marketing strategy, significantly more than the regional average of 39%. And 62% had a champion in the leadership team, nearly double the Asia-Pacific average of 38%.

"The world has incorrectly made assumptions about the Australian market," Liz Miller, CMO Council vice-president of marketing, told The Australian. "The skill level, mindset, expertise and sophistication (of the Australian marketing industry) are far more aligned with the US and Europe."

She pointed to brands such as ANZ Bank and Westpac as good examples of local brands that were "leading with data, committed to digital and also committed to mobile".

Miller highlighted the use of data to develop strategy. "Australia is really the highest when it comes to using data to impact a campaign life cycle (such as by segmenting customer bases, and using data to improve campaign results)," she said.

"The opposite is true in China and Korea where they're really only using data to report on key performance indicators."

But the survey also noted continuing conflict between marketing and IT departments, with Miller suggesting too many marketers regarded IT as simply the hired help and were failing to get it involved at an early enough stage.

One organisation that has successfully addressed this divide is Tourism Australia, where CMO and CIO have forged a close relationship and improved the collaboration and effectiveness of the two functions.

"It is about language," CMO Nick Baker told a recent conference. "It is about walking a mile in their shoes and understanding what their platforms are … Find out what they're [CIOs] into – even if you have to buy their weird magazines."

Data sourced from CMO Council, The Australian; additional content by Warc staff