Among business-to-business marketers, digital marketing such as e-mail, web sites, online registrations, and search engine marketing, are seeing increased investment, but a continuing struggle with data quality is still holding marketers back in general, according to a study from CSO Insights and targeted marketing firm Harte-Hanks.
In addition, sales and marketing functions were found to lack alignment, in that these departments do not generally share the same views on the value that marketing provides to help achieve sales revenue goals.
Consumer marketers lack data
Among consumer marketers, it is a lack of data quality (in terms of both currency and accuracy) that most adversely affects marketing efforts, although marketers gave their companies higher marks for data quality than they had done in the previous survey, two years earlier.
According to the latest survey, direct mail and e-mail generated the best return on marketing investment among media channels in 2006, as consumer marketers remain devoted to multiple channels in a bid to influence consumers. Among all media, it was the digital media categories (with the exception of paid search) that had the highest priority for marketers, with nearly equal attention being given to data analysis among all other data-related issues. But, in both markets, prompt action based on data analysis has become a top priority for business demand generation.
"As companies invest more in multiple channels in a bid to acquire customers, and to retain their loyalty, it appears that businesses are continuing to grapple with data management and data insight, to find out what the metrics are telling them," concluded Bill Goldberg, senior vice president for Harte-Hanks. "Of most concern, sales and marketing teams are still not reading the same rulebook when it comes to discerning value and customer optimisation."
Among the survey's respondents, 28% represented technology companies, 19% were from the manufacturing sector (non-technology), 13% were from services companies, 9% were from financial providers, 7% were in healthcare, and 5% were retailers and CPG companies, with a variety of other sectors such as non-profit, government, education, and travel & transportation, making up the remaining 24%.