While digital channels are medium or high priority for 85% of companies, 74% claim they still need to know how to use digital channels more effectively, according to research by Experian Marketing Services.
The study identified a definite turnaround in the mindset of the marketing industry. While 70% of survey respondents cited customer retention as a high priority for 2010, 58% said the main focus for the year would be on customer acquisition.
And those organisations ramping up their acquisition activity are doing so in an increasingly targeted fashion, applying consumer insights to help add more intelligence to segmentations and message relevance.
The study also highlighted the fact that making more effective use of digital channels was seen as the major challenge for UK-based marketers in 2010, and identified both 'improved targeting' and 'access to internal resources' as major drivers for digital success during the year.
In addition, two thirds of marketers said they planned to focus on trigger-based activity to drive contacts with more timely and relevant offers, while 83% want to use customer insight to target new customers more effectively.
"The degree of personalisation and up-to-the-minute relevance possible via digital channels means that using deep customer insight to get targeting right will be one of the key drivers of digital success in 2010," explained Jim Hodgkins, managing director for Experian Marketing Services. "What marketers should be focusing on is understanding which channels work for the individual customer and using this data insight, combined with marketing platforms and analytics, to create integrated marketing campaigns that blend the use of traditional and digital channels appropriately."
It seems that marketers will continue to face significant challenges, however, with two thirds claiming to be under pressure to deliver greater results with lower budgets.
However, a greater challenge appears to be the availability (or lack thereof) of skilled internal resources - an issue that could impact on marketers' digital aspirations. Some 63% of respondents felt that a lack of internal resources could limit their ability to deliver against their objectives, suggesting that the effects of cutbacks within marketing departments are continuing to be being felt.
Hodgkins concluded: "Despite the fact that there's evidence of a slight recovery in marketing budgets and spending for 2010, many marketers are still facing resource challenges. This squeeze on resources could threaten drives to use digital channels more effectively or see marketers looking to automate operational aspects of the marketing process and turn to external consultants to support key projects."