Tech anxiety piles pressure on besieged marketers

Trains derail the working commuteNo-one ever said that a marketer’s job was simple – or stress free – but those professionals who are struggling to cope with the pressures of work can at least take comfort from the fact they are not alone.
Last week, Callcredit Information Group claimed it was the deluge of data which was keeping marketers up all night.
Now, it is the accelerated pace of digital transformation that is adding even more wrinkles to those already furrowed brows, according to martech giant Adobe.
Adobe’s annual Digital Roadblock study reveals that more than half (55%) of UK marketers are struggling to cope with the changing tech landscape – up 7% since 2015.
The report – which surveyed 450 marketers in the UK– found that Brits suffer from more tech-induced anxiety than their peers across the region: “only” 44% of marketers in mainland Europe worry about their tech skill sets, 11% lower than the UK.
Of the UK marketers surveyed, three-quarters (74%) feel that they need to implement new technologies within their marketing strategies in order to succeed, but just over half (54%) feel that they actually have the skills to do so.
When it comes to technology skills, there is an obvious gap between demand and reality, Adobe insists. While 41% of respondents cited being a ‘tech-savvy’ early adopter of new technologies as the top attribute of being a marketer, only 15% actually identify as ‘tech-savvy’ themselves. In fact, more UK marketers identify as ‘tech challenged’ (20%) than ‘tech savvy’, and the number of ‘tech-savvy’ marketers has dropped since last year, when nearly one in five (19%) identified as so.
While over four in five (83%) of marketers still see digital transformation as an opportunity, two thirds (65%) of those polled believe that the pace of digital transformation within the marketing industry has been dramatic.
It is this fast pace that is resulting in marketers feeling like consumers and technology are in control of them, rather than the other way around. Over half (55%) see themselves as passive participants– rather than active agents – of industry change.
But when asked about the biggest barriers to success, lack of resources and budget took first place across Europe at 38%, with a lack of training in new marketing skills following at 24%.
This skills shortage and lack of training might be the reason why marketers are not taking full advantage of the data they hold: under half (49%) of marketers said they make strategic marketing decisions based on data, but 47% are not confident that they know whether their digital marketing is working or not.
It would seem that UK marketers are not able to effectively measure their results – a worrying statistic given that big data and marketing measurement are two of the most critical marketing tactics for the next three years, the study shows.
Of course, there is help at hand. Adobe EMEA marketing director John Watton said: “It’s clear from what marketers are telling us is that they are really feeling squeezed. On the one hand they are expected to contribute more to the business and on the other, they have customers expecting instant responses and incredible experiences each and every time they interact with a brand. Furthermore, they are having to grapple with many new techniques for reaching customers and having to step out of their marketing heartland into sales and customer services.
“Given all of this, it is essential to stay focused on what’s ultimately the most important thing – providing your customers with the best possible experience you can. At the same time, business leaders need to invest more in training their marketing teams to become adept in using the technologies seen as critical to marketing now and in the future. The business results will naturally flow from that,” Watton concluded.

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