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Adobe-US-Marketers-Approach-to-Marketing-Mar2014Marketers are keenly aware of the power and growing influence of data, with three-quarters of respondents to a new Adobe survey [pdf] agreeing that capturing and applying data to inform and drive marketing activities is the new reality. But it appears that the study respondents are slower to implement data-driven practices: roughly half agreed that they trust their gut to guide decisions on where to invest their marketing budgets. And only about half agreed that that they rely more on data and analytics to guide their creative decisions.

The results are reminiscent of a study released in early 2012, which found roughly two-thirds of senior marketers claiming to establish their marketing budgets in part on historical spending, and another 28% on gut instincts.

Still, there is a growing awareness of the need to use data in decision-making. According to the Adobe survey, which was conducted by ResearchNow, 39% of respondents used consumer data and behavior more last year to shape their marketing strategies. A larger share – 45% – hope to rely more on these data in the coming year. What’s more, 76% of marketers agreed that they need to be more data-focused to succeed.

Adobe-US-Marketers-Views-of-Marketings-Role-Mar2014

Not surprisingly, those respondents from companies with high digital spend (>25% of their budgets) are more likely than those from companies with low digital spend (<10% of budgets) to rely on data, being 31% more likely to say that marketers need to be more data-focused to succeed (80% vs. 61%) and 52% more likely to say that data is informative in evolving their marketing creative (73% vs. 48%).

There seems to be a consensus among marketers that they need to reinvent themselves to succeed, particularly as the vast majority believe that marketing is undergoing a revolution. But few of those who want to reinvent their role know how to go about doing so. Part of embracing a new approach to marketing also involves experimentation, and 54% of respondents believe that the ideal marketer should take more risks. That risk-taking extends to new technologies, but marketers were twice as likely to agree that they are more comfortable adopting new technologies once they become mainstream (65%) they they were to agree that they make use of new technology even before it’s proven (31%).

With that in mind, some 6 in 10 hope to try more new things (59%) and learn new skills (58%) in the coming 12 months, while half are looking to experiment more and test and evolve their marketing strategies. Perhaps most significantly, while only 29% took more risks last year, 45% hope to this year.

About the Data: The online survey was conducted February 19-27, 2014 by ResearchNow among 1,004 US marketers.

The results have a margin of error at the 95% confidence level, for the total sample, of +/-3.1%.

Some 465 companies had high digital spend, while 153 had low digital spend.

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