NEW YORK: A majority of senior marketers feel their businesses could do more to hitch digital technology to both their own marketing efforts and to associated areas, new research has said.

Forbes Insights, part of the Forbes Media publishing group, and Wipro, the IT and consulting business, surveyed 125 C-level executives from global consumer goods companies with revenues of over $1bn, covering the US, Europe and Asia Pacific, as well as carrying out a series of one-to-one interviews for its report The Race Is On: Keeping Pace with Consumer Goods Leaders in Digital Marketing and Technology.

It found that almost two thirds of respondents (65%) thought there was scope for their companies to harness digital technology to improve marketing effectiveness. A broadly similar proportion (61%) felt the same way about complementary areas such as product development and logistics.

"Many companies still have a long way to go to realize the full potential of digital marketing," observed Bruce Rogers, Chief Insights Officer and head of the CMO Practice for Forbes Media.

His Wipro colleague acknowledged the complexities faced by marketers, who were having to not only deal with "integrated website, mobile and social media strategies alongside well-conceived and executed data privacy and security strategies but also concepts such as omni-channel and analytics".

But, said Hiral Chandrana, Wipro's VP & Global Business Head, Consumer Goods, "the collective capabilities of these technologies to grow and optimise sales and marketing are too important to be ignored … How well businesses are able to implement digital technology has a direct impact on business results and will keep them ahead of their competitors".

Fragmentation emerged as an important factor limiting the ability of businesses to utilise digital technology to its fullest. Some 42% said their current approach to digital marketing was too disjointed and that figure only increased as the organisation got bigger.

Part of this was due to internal structures, with digital marketing often established as a separate function (37%); ecommerce frequently operated as a separate business unit (39%).

Turf wars were also a feature – 43% of executives believed their IT departments were too busy to help with digital marketing technology needs, while 50% were able to report one or more instances when digital marketing had failed to integrate with essential back-end processes.

Despite all this, 20% of companies described themselves as transformative, and these, said Forbes, were the leaders, whose embrace of digital was transforming not only sales and marketing but also the overall business.

Data sourced from Forbes; additional content by Warc staff