Adobe Study Finds Digital Marketing Shines on Mobile, Social, Big Data

A recent Adobe study shows that digital marketers believe data, mobile and social technology are key factors in reinventing marketing.

SALT LAKE CITY—Although 40 percent of marketers claim they want to "reinvent" themselves, only 14 percent of those marketers said they actually know how to go about it, according to a recent report commissioned by Adobe.

The study, Digital Roadblock: Marketers Struggle to Reinvent Themselves, is based on a survey of more than 1,000 marketing professionals in the United States and exposes new insights into the attitudes and beliefs of marketers as they work to redefine their roles and expand their skills. Adobe released the findings here this week at its Adobe Summit 2014 digital marketing conference, where the theme was "reinventing marketing".

Indeed, 64 percent of marketers said they expect their role to change in the next year, and 81 percent said they believe their role will change in the next three years, according to the study. But the path to reinvention remains a challenge. Respondents cited the lack of training in new marketing skills (30 percent) and organizational inability to adapt (30 percent) among the top obstacles to becoming the marketers they aspire to be.

Asked to describe the ideal, successful marketer 12 months from now, 50 percent of marketers said they should take more risks, and 45 percent hope to take more risks themselves. On the topic of new technologies, marketers are generally playing it safe, with 65 percent saying they are more comfortable adopting new technologies once they become mainstream.

Speaking at a keynote at the Adobe Summit, actor Robert Redford said, "Not taking a risk is a risk."

The findings also highlighted a gap between marketers in companies that spend more than 25 percent of their marketing budgets on digital campaigns, compared with those that spend less than 10 percent on digital. Marketers in high digital-spend companies are more likely to believe (82 percent) they need to reinvent themselves to succeed, versus low digital-spend companies (67 percent). Marketers from high-performing companies are three times more likely (23 percent) to say they know how to reinvent themselves than low performers (8 percent).

"The shift to digital requires new technology, new approaches and, in many cases, entirely new roles for marketers," Ann Lewnes, chief marketing officer for Adobe, said in a statement. "The good news is that marketers see the change in front of them, and understand they need to embrace data, focus on creating personalized experiences and work across their social, Web and mobile channels. They just need to take the plunge."

Meanwhile, marketers also said they see data as important but that it is not always used to the fullest. More than three-quarters of marketers (76 percent) said they need to be more data-focused to succeed, but 49 percent report "trusting my gut" to guide decisions on where to invest their marketing budgets. Seventy-two percent of marketers said they believe their long-term success is tied to proving marketing return on investment.