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New research shows Australia is a world leader in the adoption of digital marketing, but that skill shortages and budget constraints have slowed advanced implementation.

But implementation is still immature, with most digital marketing practitioners still focused on basic performance indicators and not exploiting the technology to the full. The findings are contained in the third annual ‘Asia Pacific Digital Marketing Performance Dashboard’ a report based on a survey conducted by the CMO (chief marketing officer) Council in partnership with Adobe.

The CMO council is a global association of senior marketing managers. It has 7500 members, of whom 1200 are in Asia Pacific and 500 in Australia. The study comprised a six-month program comprising quantitative surveys with over 800 CMO members in the region. It benchmarked the levels of adoption, traction and success of digital marketing in Australia, New Zealand, China, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and India.

The CMO Council’s Liz Miller is visiting Australia for the release of the report. “There are several factors allowing Australian marketers to pull away from their counterparts in Asia Pacific, including stronger support from company leadership and having a strong digital champion in the leadership team,” she says.

“For the first time, the Dashboard reveals that stakeholder support for digital investment has increased significantly. But there are still many skills shortages. Across Asia Pacific, companies with a dedicated headcount to carry out digital marketing analysis has lifted only slightly between 2012 (13%) and 2014 (15%). But in Australia a dedicated headcount has increased from 15% in 2012 to 26% in 2014.”

Miller says the research is conducted only in Asia Pacific, because of the unique nature of digital marketing in the region. “In Asia Pacific digital marketing is consumer based, while in North America it is budget based. It gives an entirely different perspective. And in Europe it has been constrained by financial problems.

“Asia Pacific is ahead, and within the region Australia is leading. There is a level of sophistication in Australia that rivals North America. And there is one key difference – in the US digital marketing tends to be driven by small and medium enterprises, while in Asia Pacific many large companies and multinationals are making strong use of the practice.

Key findings from the 2014 Digital Dashboard include:

  • In Australia, 52% of organisations advised that chief marketing executives own the digital marketing strategy, compared with 39% across Asia Pacific; 62% of Australian companies have a digital champion on the leadership team, well above the Asia Pacific average of 38%.
  • Stakeholder support for digital is increasing; channel partners and sales teams have emerged as digital advocates across Asia Pacific with support for increased digital spend more than doubling between 2012 (15%) and 2014 (34%).
  • Three quarters of marketers in Asia Pacific are measuring and analysing data, but implementation of more sophisticated performance indicators remains low across the region. There has been no progress across Asia Pacific in measuring data across the life of a campaign, and percentages remain low year on year: 2012 (14%), 2013 (10%) and 2014 (13%). In Australia, measuring across the life of a campaign is lower than the Asia Pacific average and has dropped to 11% in 2014, from 13% in 2012.
  • The ability to better engage and activate audiences is driving the adoption of digital; 81% of Australian marketers cite engagement as the key driver compared with 58% across Asia Pacific.
  • The proliferation and capability of mobile has increased as a driver of digital adoption in Australia up from 52% in 2012 to 65% in 2014.

The report is available here (registration required).


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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.


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