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European Marketers Face Obstacles to Reinvention, Adobe Study Reveals

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Press release from the issuing company

New study exposes performance gaps in key digital marketing disciplines, including social and personalization

LONDON, Adobe Summit EMEA, The Digital Marketing Conference Nearly three quarters (73%) of European marketers believe they need to reinvent themselves to succeed, according to research released today from Adobe (Nasdaq: ADBE). The findings in a new report, Digital Roadblock: Marketers Struggle to Reinvent Themselves, European Edition, are based on a survey of more than 350 marketing professionals in the UK, Germany and France, and provide new insights into their attitudes and beliefs as they cope with the changing digital marketing landscape.

More than two thirds of European marketers (68%) state that marketing has changed more in the last two years than in the previous 50, and more than half (54%) of European marketers expect their own roles to change in the next year. When asked to identify the most significant driving forces of change, marketers point to the expanded number of channels and platforms to reach audiences as the most important driver (65%), followed closely by new ways of thinking about audience engagement (59%) and new technologies for analyzing marketing effectiveness (54%).

Organizational Roadblocks to Reinvention
Respondents cited organizational challenges over personal obstacles as barriers to becoming the marketers they aspire to be. Over half (58%) of European marketers say that marketing success is dependent on organizational change. Other perceived obstacles in Europe include a lack of training in new skills (30%), confusion over roles and responsibilities (30%) and company resistance to trying new programs (30%).

On a personal level, UK marketers express more confidence (79%) in their abilities to adapt to change than marketers in Germany (69%) and France (69%). When asked how well-equipped they feel to reinvent their own skills, UK (74%) and German (72%) marketers voice stronger confidence than marketers in France (61%).

“European marketers know their world is changing at an incredibly rapid pace, but they don’t feel empowered to reinvent themselves and their work,” said Mark Phibbs, vice president of marketing for EMEA, Adobe. “This is a wake-up call for business leaders—success in the digital age is not going to happen until marketing teams feel they have the training and organizational support they need. It’s critical to get these investments right. Companies that can’t evolve fast enough are going to get left behind.”

Digital Vehicles and Talent Viewed as Critical, but Performance Lagging
When asked to select top marketing vehicles for the coming year, 54% of European marketers see social media as the most critical vehicle, followed by online advertising at 40% and mobile at 39%. In France and Germany, marketers say digital talent—including social marketing and e-commerce management—is the most critical for new hires. In the UK, data analysts rise to the top.

In terms of behavioral success factors, the abilities to work across channels and measure effectiveness are seen as the most important across all three European countries surveyed. However, marketers in France prioritized better storytelling at nearly double the rate of UK and Germany as the behavior that will make the biggest difference to marketing success. Seventy percent of marketers in France agree with the need to embrace hyper-personalization, compared to 66% in the UK and 60% in Germany.

The research also exposed significant gaps in the way marketers are actually performing. When asked to rate both the importance and how well they feel their companies are currently doing in key digital marketing functions, the findings revealed a 24% gap in the areas of personalization and targeting, as well as a 24% gap in customer response management. Likewise, marketers across Europe are struggling with content management (22% gap), marketing measurement (21% gap) and social marketing (19% gap).

Different Attitudes toward Data
A majority (73%) of marketers in the UK, Germany and France agree they need to be more data-focused to succeed; however, the findings revealed differences in attitudes between countries.

The UK and France generally agree on how data has affected their approach to marketing. Seventy percent of marketers in the UK and 68% in France agree that capturing and applying data to inform and drive marketing activities is the new reality, compared to just 56% in Germany. Similarly, 69% of marketers in France and 65% in the UK agree that data informs and evolves marketing creative content, but only 56% of German marketers agree. When asked about what they hope to do more of in the next 12 months, 50% of UK marketers say they want to use more consumer data and behavior to shape marketing strategies, compared to 37% in France and 33% in Germany.


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