By Ed Pierce, Fleet Industry Marketer
When I saw the conclusions of Gartner Group’s most recent CMO Study, I was perplexed. Digital marketing is everywhere. In 2016, no company can develop a comprehensive integrated marketing plan without digital components.
As it turns out, that was exactly the point of Gartner’s report: digital marketing is officially mainstream.
“There is little doubt that digital marketing is now mainstream,” said Yvonne Genovese, group vice president at Gartner. “Marketers no longer make a clear distinction between offline and online marketing disciplines. As customers opt for digitally-led experiences, digital marketing stops being a discrete discipline and instead becomes the context for all marketing.”
The Gartner 2015-2015 Chief Marketing Office Spend Survey included responses from business leaders responsible for marketing in 339 large companies in North America and the U.K. Respondents represented organizations across seven industries: financial services, high tech, manufacturing, consumer packaged goods (CPG), media, retail, and transportation/hospitality.
Ten percent of marketers say they have moved beyond digital marketing techniques and are expanding marketing’s role to create new digitally-led business models. The blurring of the physical and digital worlds represents opportunities for marketers to apply customer insights to create and test new digitally-led experiences and business models. Digital commerce is surging, capturing 11 percent of the digital marketing budget (up from 8 percent in 2014) as marketers become more accountable for driving results.
“The rise in digital commerce is an opportunity for marketers,” said Jake Sorofman, research vice president at Gartner. “There was a time when marketing and selling were two distinct disciplines. In many cases, digital merges these two into a single, continuous activity from initial awareness, through engagement, conversion, transaction and repeat purchase. Marketers can now tie spend to revenue. In fact, it’s becoming a mandate.”
Two main factors are driving marketers’ interest in digital commerce: the need to point to tangible results from marketing investments, and the recognition that companies need more than a commerce platform to sell. In the past, we’ve seen digital commerce operations wholly-disconnected from the marketing engine. Today, we’re seeing integration between marketing and sales as two parts of a single discipline, where marketers bring everything from content marketing and brand storytelling to advanced analytics and multichannel campaign management to optimize digital commerce across channels.
B2C companies have long been considered more sophisticated in digital commerce, but we’re seeing growing appetite by B2B companies under pressure to reach customers directly with digital commerce initiatives. They are looking to engage customers directly to better understand their needs, preferences and behaviors.
As CMOs face the digital transition, the survey showed that overall marketing budgets are on the rise. The study also found that marketing budgets increased 10 percent in 2015, with 61 percent of respondents saying they expect budgets to increase again this year.
“Bigger budgets, however, come with sizable expectations,” said Mr. Sorofman. “Marketing is expected to drive profitable growth through the acquisition, retention and expansion of the most valuable customer relationships. As customer buying journeys and customer expectations expand, so, too, does marketing’s scope of responsibility. As a result, the marketing remit now often includes driving broad-mandate customer experience, digital commerce and innovation initiatives.”
If you have any questions, comments, experiences or opinions about fleet industry-related marketing that you’d like to share, write to me at edpierce@ITAcommunications.com.