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The study tracked adoption – and planned future use – of 10 digital marketing channels, finding that:
Are the three channels currently experiencing the broadest adoption rates.
In terms of which marketing channels are seeing the highest growth rates, it’s not too surprising to see that newer channels are seeing the fastest rates, given that they’re emerging from a smaller base. Looking back over the past 2 years, growth in usage has been fastest for:
More traditional channels such as organic (47%) and paid (43%) search have seen slower growth, though it’s notable that email marketing use has almost doubled in the past 2 years.
The report also breaks down the 2-year growth rate by the marketing service provider's target audience. This segmentation of the survey's results finds that marketers targeting businesses (both B2B and B2B2C respondents) have seen huge growth in the use of:
This is likely due to B2B companies adopting these channels at a later point than their B2C counterparts and therefore starting from a smaller base of usage.
For the most part, it’s B2B companies that are adopting digital marketing channels at a faster rate than B2C marketers, with the exception of websites and email marketing.
Looking ahead, the research points to strong growth in adoption of each of those channels, as well as customer communities, social advertising and customer communities. If respondents hold true to their plans, then by next year marketers will be as likely to be advertising (92%) as marketing (92%) on social platforms. This trend towards parity of paid and organic social makes sense given declines in organic reach and the growing influence of social ads.
The growing popularity of social media is also reflected in respondents’ budget plans: roughly two-thirds (66%) plan to increase their social media marketing spend over the next 12 months, and an equal proportion plan to do the same for their social ad spend.
The report’s authors note that marketing has moved from “focusing” on the customer experience to “battling over it,” noting that two-thirds (68%) of marketing leaders surveyed say their company is increasingly competing on the basis of customer experience. That belief has been seen in other research: for example, two-thirds of B2B professionals surveyed by Accenture were of the opinion that new entrants to the industry are using customer experience as their key differentiator.
Due to changing customer expectations, almost two-thirds (64%) likewise report that their company has become more focused on providing a consistent experience across every channel. This report sings the same tune as many before with respect to the key challenge face: once again, leveraging data from different sources is proving to be an obstacle to creating a connected customer experience.
Although marketers are trying hard to coordinate their marketing across a growing number of channels, only around one-quarter are able to evolve their messaging from one to another based on customer actions. Twice as many, instead, say that their campaign messages are identical broadcasts from one channel to the next.
Success in these efforts appears to be at the forefront of marketers’ minds. With a variety of benefits – such as customer loyalty, revenue growth, and customer engagement – in play, three-quarters say that creating a connected customer journey across all touchpoints and channels is critical to the success of their overall marketing strategy.
Add it all together and the majority (61%) of marketers indicate that they’ve become more focused on evolving from a traditional marketing structure defined by channels and functions to one that emphasizes roles aligned with a customer journey strategy.
In a reversal from past research (see here and here) consumers are more likely to share good experiences than bad ones, according to a recent Temkin Group survey. In fact, just 14% of the 10,000 US consumers surveyed said they were tight-lipped following a recent very good experience with a company, compared to 35% who didn’t tell anyone following a very bad experience.
It’s somewhat surprising to see more claiming to withhold information about a bad than good experience, as the individual responses surveyed saw relatively equal levels of action. This suggests that while fewer consumers share their negative experiences, they do so using more channels.
About the Marketing Channel Survey Data: The report is based on a survey conducted in April 2017 among 3,500 marketing leaders (manager or higher leadership role). Some 57% of respondents come from companies with 101-3,500 employees, while 16% come from companies with more than 3,500 employees.