Brands spent much of Q4 2013 building their marketing budget plans for the New Year. With new channels at marketers’ fingertips, correctly allocating resources to reach wider audiences has become a top challenge.
According to the Digital Trends 2014 report, produced by Econsultancy and Adobe, in-house marketers describe customer experience (20 percent), mobile marketing (18 percent) and content marketing (15 percent) as the most exciting opportunities for 2014.
The survey shows that 36 percent of brands will develop content marketing strategies to improve things such as customer experience and brand awareness. This was the highest-priority marketing activity, according to Econsultancy.
A separate report from Loyalty360 found similar shifts in strategy execution. More than 50 percent of marketers anticipate that their budgets will further allocate funding toward content creation and amplification. The study suggests that brand marketers are attempting to create content to satiate consumers’ hunger for information, but most brands still struggle with measurement. Thirty-eight percent of surveyed brands say that the metrics they use to track results are not telling the whole story.
“There is pressure for marketers to show that content is driving sales, but attribution is difficult to measure accurately,” Loyalty360 CEO Mark Johnson said. “It’s more realistic to expect results in the long term, rather than short term. The goal of any content strategy should be to provide value to consumers. When that’s accomplished, sales and revenue will follow naturally.”
Unfortunately, brands also admit to not having the tools and solutions necessary to develop a strategy focused on customer experience, to execute that program via content marketing and to measure results. Econsultancy found that only 23 percent of companies say that they believe they have the marketing technology necessary to succeed. What’s more, 23 percent of brands say that their teams lack creative and storytelling skills, which have proven increasingly important in getting content seen and consumed by target audiences.
“If last year was about recognizing the importance of customer experience, 2014 is about actually doing something,” Econsultancy Research Director Linus Gregoriadis said. “For an optimal customer experience, various business functions and customer-facing touch points need to be working in harmony — from customer service and advertising to online user experience, content management and email messaging.”
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