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Minding the digital gap between spending and performance

This is an article ‘Minding the digital gap between spending and performance’ by Marc Primo


Today’s elite marketers allocate 57% of their budgets to digital strategies and the numbers are only growing as the competition heats up online. By next year, experts expect a 16% growth in spending among businesses that wish to perform better than the rest of the competition and gain a bigger slice of the conversion pie.



However, one anomaly this year is that most marketers have noticed smaller to no returns from their digital marketing strategies. Thirty percent have said that they are now thinking twice about increasing investments in online marketing if they do not identify which gaps to fill.


Some undeniable factors and challenges have suddenly come to the surface to create gaps in the general marketing spending of businesses and how they measure performance. From how we are seeing the last traces of third-party cookies to new strategies concerning Web3 channels, more companies are now sounding the alarm on how to identify their respective digital gaps.


According to expert analysts, there are four factors that companies should focus on to allocate the proper budget for their desired results.


Not all companies have migrated to digital systems yet


According to a CMO survey, considered one of the best resources that collates expert opinions online to predict future markets, 60% of companies that perform digital marketing strategies are still in the birthing stages of digital transformation. While many are still visualizing their designs on the drawing board, a few have already built digital elements without integration systems.


Businesses have come a long way to know that simply having a digital marketing unit at the office won’t cut it. Strategies must be wholly integrated throughout the business operation and utilized to derive real-time information and more intelligent insights for better decision-making. Doing so helps a company realize its full online potential. Unfortunately, most businesses are still far from realizing an accurate working system customized for their operations.


While numerous vendors such as Acumatica ERP that specialize in cloud integration systems exist, most businesses can’t afford such high-end services and need to troubleshoot on their own via trial and error.


Many are still in the dark about data analytics


From the offshoot of the digital marketing craze, most marketers have concentrated on optimizing their websites for higher site traffic and search ranking. That changed this year via a 37% increase in businesses that have shifted their investments to data analytics rather than on and off-page optimization.


With third-party cookies now nearly obsolete thanks to Google, data is becoming more valuable for marketers these days.


However, the challenge lies in how marketing technologies are getting more complicated. Although businesses are ready to invest in emerging tools that can give them an edge over the competition, there is a steep learning curve when assessing improved data. It’s no wonder most companies still find themselves in the dark regarding data analytics and its real benefits.


Only when a business can establish one data source by integrating its systems across all business units can it appreciate and analyze the data that comes in more effectively.


Converting data to actionable insights remains challenging


In business, every operation relies on key performance indicators that will tell supervisors how the strategies are performing according to plan. Digital marketing efforts can only do so much to deliver positive results without the ability to convert raw data into actionable insights that determine key metrics.


Modern businesses that invest in digital marketing systems need to create dashboards that can efficiently interpret data analytics to help marketers make better decisions in reviewing the entire marketing funnel and its corresponding elements.


Data not only improves marketing strategies but also improves the way companies can run their businesses in a more cost-efficient way. Unfortunately, more people find it challenging to convert raw data into key metrics that can tangibly improve both business and cash flow.


There are forks in the road in customer journeys


Considering the many channels a business has to consider to connect to its target audiences, digital marketing only grows more complicated as the years pass. From evaluating the importance of social media and search engine ranking to developing dedicated apps, mapping the customer journey is not always the same in every channel.


The truth is only 40% of today’s marketers claim that they can track customer journeys through established systems that visualize their marketing roadmaps. To date, not even half of businesses that perform digital marketing strategies can say that they effectively integrate data that link communications, purchases, and social media engagement in one dashboard.


The main objective has always been to track every customer’s end-to-end journey to determine actionable insights. Undeniably, more companies are investing in various digital touchpoints that can draw them closer to their target audiences. The underlying problem now is that there is still widespread inability for companies to align their data analytics that concern sales attributes to these touchpoints. This challenge makes it more difficult to address the gap between marketing spend and quantifiable digital-centric performance.


The digital road ahead


That said, companies can still overcome these hurdles. Year after year, there have already been proven solutions that lead marketers closer to a more integrated customer journey roadmap which is considered the holy grail.


It’s just a matter of time before more companies can manage their marketing strategies through organized data analytics that give more insights into finally understanding each customer journey. Many are still in the A/B testing stage, but 67% have already learned the importance of testing and improving their digital platforms.


Today’s digital marketers should set their sights on improving the customer experience vis-a-vis their internal processes, while also aligning every effort with marketing communications. These three factors are the main elements they should first focus on when looking to invest in integrated systems that can generate the proper data analytics that can link multiple aspects of the business.


By achieving such strategic progress, the data that businesses receive from new digital marketing innovations will tell them more about what’s vital to any niche market consumer than just superficial preferences. Only by doing so can companies get their real money’s worth for today’s brand of digital marketing services.


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