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mckinsey-digital-biz-challenges-may2012.jpgAlthough many C-suite executives say that digital business trends such as big data and social media marketing are a corporate priority, a variety of factors appear to be holding back their ability to take advantage of the potential presented by these new technologies, according to a McKinsey & Company survey released in May 2012. Chief among these challenges are organizational structures, which 52% of the executives believe are not designed to take advantage of their digital business priorities, and a lack of technology infrastructure and IT systems, cited by 51%. Other significant challenges include lack of quality data (46%), lack of internal leadership (45%), and difficulty finding functional talent (43%).

A PulsePoint survey of marketers released in May also found a lack of real-time data to be a key challenge holding back improvement of digital marketing capabilities, while a March 2012 report from DataXu revealed that only a minority of marketers believe that their existing digital marketing tools are providing them with the strategic insights they need.

Income Optimism Abounds

mckinsey-digital-biz-income-impact-may2012.jpgDespite these challenges, most C-suite executives are optimistic about the potential presented by the latest digital business trends. 2 in 3 respondents to the McKinsey survey believe that these trends will increase their companies’ operating income in the next 3 years, including more than one-third who see an operating income increase of more than 10%.

This compares to just 9% who believe that digital business will impact their operating income negatively.

Confidence in Value Generation Varies

Respondents appear to have mixed feelings about the value they have extracted from their use of the latest digital business trends. When compared to their competitors, they are 83% more likely to feel they have derived more value than less from data and analytics (44% vs. 24%), while they see themselves evenly matched with competitors on the value generated from digital marketing techniques.

However, a greater proportion of respondents believe they have derived less value than their peers than more when it comes to their use of social tools or technologies (33% vs. 28%) and flexible delivery platforms (31% vs. 28%).

Digital Marketing Tech Most Used to Cross Channels

When asked how they are using digital marketing practices within their organizations, most C-suite executives said they are positioning and branding material consistently across online and offline channels, with 3 in 5 saying they deploy this practice at least selectively. A slight majority also engage customers through social media channels at least selectively.

Beyond these practices though, adoption dips. For example, only about 2 in 5 are at least selectively deploying personalized information or targeted offers accessible though online channels, or advertising using advanced customer targeting. Creation of branded applications and games for the internet or mobile devices, along with the use of location-based services or promotions to attract customers to stores are even less widespread, cited by roughly 1 in 4 executives.

Other Findings:

  • 44% of the survey respondents indicate that they have deployed mobile access for internal business applications, and about one-third say they are using cloud computing.
  • Executives at private companies are 63% more likely than their public company counterparts to believe that digital business technologies will increase their operating income by more than 10% in the next 3 years (39% vs. 24%).
  • CEOs are more bullish than CIOs when it comes to expectations of generating more value than their competitors from big data (46% vs. 30%).

About the Data: The McKinsey data is based on an online survey fielded from April 3 to April 13, 2012 that garnered responses from 1,469 C-level executives representing the full range of industries, regions, and company sizes.

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