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Bridging the digital divide between marketers and consumers: new report

Today, PulsePoint released new research in conjunction with The CMO Club and Digiday on what they are terming the Digital Divide. This report examines digital marketing capabilities, top challenges and priorities of brands, agencies and publishers.

PulsePoint first decided to conduct a study to analyze the gap in perception between publishers, advertisers and agencies and how they use digital channels. Surprisingly, there was not much difference between the groups but rather between what they were doing and what the consumer expected.

With digital, consumers are moving fluidly between channels and devices but most marketers still have basic priorities in this space.  They are measuring performance and optimizing in silos without consistent messaging across customer touch points. This is because most marketers are still looking at the separation of channels at the core of what they are doing instead of adopting a customer-centric approach.

The best way to look at the marketing mix is to get the point of real-time interactive marketing. This leverages real time interactions to automate the delivery of the most relevant messages and content across all of your marketing channels.

The majority of marketers are still in the multi-channel phase where their marketing program uses two of more digital channels but not in a unified way. The good news is that they are moving to the middle ground of cross channel marketing where lessons from specific channels are used to inform marketing activities in other channels.

How are agencies rating themselves?

According to the survey of over 400 senior marketers which underlies the research, agencies rate themselves the highest in terms of where they are in the mix of multi-channel/cross channel/ real time interactive marketing. 

But is this an indication of what agencies are really doing? Dr. Karl Lendenmann, PulsePoint’s SVP of Research, believes this feels aspirational. Agencies often have to create a reality in their client’s minds to show what is possible. As they are in the middle of the marketing landscape, they are good at best practice but also can add more complexities to the mix. 

Marketers are looking for automation to make their supply chain more effective. Due to the current funding models, there can be an inertia with agencies in this area as they rely on fee based commissions to cover head count. Automation is a threat as less head count would be needed to fulfill the same goals. But the way we currently work won’t bring us to the way we are meant to be.

One of the main takeaways of the Digital Divide report, shows that we, as marketers, have to move toward two specific goals in order to bring real time interactive marketing to the table.

  1. Real-time intelligence 
    We need to apply the learnings of digital interactions to enhance relevance and performance
  2. Unified automation 
    Seamlessly execute marketing strategy with unified customer views and attribute the results across all channels and programs.

While our priorities are still channel driven and campaign and campaign driven, the unifying principle will never be the consumer, which it must be. As Rose Ann Haran, CMO of PulsePoint, put it “Don’t stop making the donuts.”

Yes, you still have to figure out mobile, for instance, but you have to do both. The initiative in companies has to be to get to a unified customer view.

Then everything you do, no matter what channel you are in, will feed the marketing beast.

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