Three quarters of marketers’ positive outlook holds steady amid rapid digital acceleration

Three quarters of marketers’ positive outlook holds steady amid rapid digital acceleration Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.

Econsultancy, a global provider of digital marketing and ecommerce insights and training, today revealed an early snapshot from its annual Future of Marketing report, which revealed marketers’ positive industry outlook remains steadfast despite a prolonged rocky economic environment.

Despite the crises which have characterised the last few years, more than three quarters (76%) of marketers remain optimistic about the future of the industry. This remains on par with the previous year (also 76% in 2022) as marketers felt assured of the vital role marketing plays in ‘business as usual’ operations and their organisation’s ability to weather economic storms.

Econsultancy’s Future of Marketing 2023 survey spotlights attitudes, behaviours and forward-gazing insights from 835 brand, vendor and agency-side marketers around the globe, examining the predictions on which key trends and strategic priorities are set to shape the industry outlook for the next 24 months. The survey was fielded to Xeim audiences in June and July 2023.

According to the survey, marketers’ confidence has been buoyed by a focus on technological innovations. The majority (80%) of marketers predicted innovation and the adoption of new technologies will become increasingly important over the next two years, with technology and innovation identified as the leading priority during this time.

Rounding out the top three marketing priorities over the next two years are data, analytics and measurement (75%) and agility and adaptability (73%).

Rose Keen, senior analyst, Econsultancy, said: “The last few years have been characterised by crisis and change. Meaning that any thoughts about the future were coloured, if not obscured, by what was happening in a marketer’s ‘right now’. This year a different picture is emerging. One that, though realistic about the current challenges of the economy, channel mix complexity and rapidly evolving technologies, is focused on the future and energised by its possibilities.”

“This shouldn’t be mistaken for blind optimism. Marketers’ priorities show they are highly attuned to what’s required to thrive now and into the future. From investment in people and a future fit skill set, to ensuring the right data and tech infrastructure is in place.”

The research also revealed that the highest-performing companies, defined as those that outperform in their market, are more likely to invest in their employees and see customer-centric skills as vital. This was echoed by Econsultancy’s 2023 Digital Skills survey, which found that most (83%) of senior executives say their organisation’s growth depends on rapidly developing their employees’ skills and capabilities to meet emerging customer and business needs.

While GenAI will undoubtedly impact future market strategies, another noteworthy example will be businesses’ response to the upcoming third-party cookie crackdown. Just under a third (30%) of respondents in the Future of Marketing survey consider their organisation fully or mostly prepared for third-party cookies being phased out. Despite this, marketers are optimistic about the industry’s ability to respond and find alternatives to understanding customer behaviour.

To help marketers navigate these emerging industry challenges and more, Econsultancy will be hosting a Future of Marketing webinar on Thursday, 21 September.

The session will explore expert insights and relevant case studies to expand on the key priorities and challenges unearthed from the research, including marketing budget expectations and predicted allocations; what proportion of the industry is already harnessing GenAI and how they are using it; how marketers are dividing activity between performance and brand marketing over the next two years; and, the channels and touchpoints that marketers anticipate will become even more essential to the future marketing mix.

This is the latest offering to complement Econsultancy’s Multi-Touch Learning training model and series of Best Practice Guides, which span a comprehensive range of topics including strategy and planning, data and analytics, ecommerce, customer experience, content marketing, digital advertising, SEO and search marketing, social media, email and CRM.

Keen said: “This era is one characterised by rapid change. To thrive in that environment will require a constantly evolving skill set. The best performing organisations are those who are also investing in people and an organisation’s future success will depend on the skills and capabilities of the people that make up that business.

“Developing a culture of continuous learning or, at the individual level, taking proactive steps to build those skills is the best defence, whatever the future may hold.”

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

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