Meanwhile, 19 percent of marketers are putting at least three-quarters of their budget toward digital campaigns. This financial commitment to digital strategy is only expected to keep growing.
The report identifies encouraging trends among senior marketers in the retail industry. But the survey, which solicited responses from both e-retail and traditional retail executives, found that a good chunk of the broader population still eschews digital marketing for their businesses, with 40 percent saying they put less than 25 percent of their marketing budget toward digital campaigns. Even so, retailers’ moves are often a sign of what’s to come for other industries.
“Retail is often the ‘first mover’ in digital when it comes to programs with a strong likelihood of ROI impact,” according to the report. “Thus, these findings are very relevant to marketers outside of the retail/e-tail sector.”
The Conversant report follows an Econsultancy report from earlier this year that said more than 70 percent of businesses planned on increasing their digital marketing budgets in 2014. That investment stood in stark contrast to the 20 percent minority saying they would increase traditional marketing spending over the same period.
While some sections of the retail industry continue to drag their heels, the report suggests that marketers are gradually gaining a better understanding of how content marketing strategy should be applied. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they consider digital channels to be most effective in building brands long-term, as opposed to driving short-term sales.
Those respondents also consider digital marketing to be a strong outlet for direct responses, which contribute to the personalization digital content can offer over other marketing platforms. And those senior marketers see the value in those digital assets: a whopping 86 percent agreed that personalized messages can be more effective than mass messaging.
Meanwhile, 26 percent “strongly agree” that personalized communications are the future of the marketing industry. However, 59 percent are unsure of how to handle omnichannel behaviors, saying that this consumer behavior complicates efforts at personalization.
The Conversant report also identified struggles among marketers to find the right vendor solutions for their content marketing needs. While 65 percent currently work with more than five marketing vendors—and 31 percent work with more than 10—nearly half report difficulties in finding the right vendors to meet their needs. And when marketers work with multiple vendors, further complications ensue: 56 percent of respondents say they struggle to effectively integrate these vendors and their services.
Integration is a key issue that could affect those companies and their digital strategy, and their current struggles underscore the need for comprehensive content marketing solutions that offer a variety of services under one roof.