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Who should lead digital strategy?

News, 02 June 2015

LONDON/NEW YORK: The great majority of B2B marketers believe they are best placed to lead their businesses' digital agenda, a view that is not widely shared beyond their own department.

Digital agency Omobono surveyed 331 professionals in the UK and US – 31% of whom worked at companies with a turnover of more than £1bn – from marketing, sales, customer service HR and internal communications across 12 markets.

It found that 88% of marketers thought they should direct digital strategy but only 23% of non-marketing personnel agreed.

All departments were using established digital channels like websites and email, but the marketing viewpoint was based on their activity in newer channels.

Some 70% of marketers were using social, for example, compared to just 33% of other departments. And 63% of marketers were also using video, against 20% of other departments.

But building brand preference is now everyone's responsibility, according to Omobono, which noted that nine out of eleven audiences are shared by all departments and that building relationships featured in everyone's top three priorities.

Further, only 52% of spend was controlled by marketing departments.

While digital has had the effect of spreading the communications role more widely across businesses, only one quarter of those surveyed actually had a formal digital strategy. The importance of this was emphasised in the differing attitudes expressed towards certain areas.

Over half (52%) of those with a strategy were confident in the accuracy of ROI measurement compared to just 11% of those without a strategy.

Similarly, those with a strategy were three times more likely to regard their communications as very effective.

"Digital has transformed the face of marketing, making communications a part of every department's remit today," observed Francesca Brosan, chairman of Omobono, in remarks reported by The Drum.

She noted that while marketers "clearly have the skills to master the emerging media", they also needed to "put more effort into communicating their learnings and expertise with their colleagues".

"This will not only improve collaboration and results but it will – crucially – improve the perception of marketers beyond the marketing department too," she said.

Data sourced from Omobono, The Drum; additional content by Warc staff