SAN MATEO, CA: Marketing is set to move centre-stage in businesses around the world as they adapt to keep up with increased technical and consumer demands, according to a new survey.

A global study of 478 senior marketers and CMOs – covering North America (33%), Europe (30%), Asia-Pacific (28%) and Africa and Latin America (9%) – undertaken on behalf of marketing software business Marketo found that more than 80% expected their organisations would have to undergo dramatic changes over the next few years.

"The transformation taking place in marketing is profound as marketers race to adopt technology and add skills that will allow them to manage the entire relationship with the customer," said Sanjay Dholakia, chief marketing officer at Marketo.

"Three out of every four marketers say that in three to five years, they will own the end-to-end customer engagement," he added. "That ownership puts marketing right at the centre of revenue generation and setting the company strategy."

This would mark a dramatic shift from the current situation where, the survey showed, just over one third of marketers say they are responsible for managing the customer experience and two thirds (68%) feel that the rest of their company views their department as little more than a cost centre.

Central to that shift will be the use of technology by the marketer to manage customer engagement: the proportion of marketers using data to gain insights and engage customers will increase from around half to more than 80%.

The corollary of that is the need to develop new skills, particularly in digital engagement (39%) and marketing technology (39%). Close behind these two was strategy and planning (38%).

Technology investment plans by marketers illustrate both the dominance and fragmentation of digital channels, noted Marketo. Three of the four most widely cited investments are aimed at reaching customers through different channels: via social networks, on mobile devices and on the old standby of e-mail.

The fourth, analytics, is needed to knit together data from multiple channels into a coherent and actionable portrait of the consumer.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff