‘Majority of marketers aren’t sure technologies are producing ROI’

More than half of senior marketers are struggling to make a business case for marketing technologies due to their inability to demonstrate the impact of tools such as website analytics and CRM on return on investment, according to a report.

Marketers are struggling to use tech such as web analytics to impact sales.
Marketers are struggling to use tech such as web analytics to impact sales.

The findings from global marketing network The CMO Council’s “Quantify How Well You Unify” report found that more than half (54%) of the respondents admitted their marketing technologies are either “not producing ROI”, they “aren’t sure” or are still working to gauge the impact compared to the 46% who said they can prove tangible ROI.

Two in five marketers said they found difficulties in making a business case for marketing technology investments. However, the struggles have not knocked marketers’ faith that technologies will drive better revenue with 73% anticipating increases, 4% expecting decreases and 22% expecting no change.

Despite the growing confidence in technology, only a few companies plan to invest a significant portion of their marketing budgets into areas such as behavioral targeting and personalisation. Less than a quarter plan on spending over $1m on marketing technologies this year, while nearly two thirds (62%) plan to spend less than $500,000.

Technology is only as good as the marketer’s strategy

However, those companies with a formal marketing technology strategy contribute more to overall revenue and value creation. Half (50%) are able to achieve more targeted, efficient and relevant customer engagements, according to the report. and 39% achieve greater return and accountability of marketing spend.

The 42% of marketers who own their marketing technology strategy see a greater business impact than those who do not. While, nearly one-third (30%) of CMOs who say they manage and integrate technology “extremely well” or “pretty well” are seeing tangible business value, with 51% of those achieving greater revenue contributions.

Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council, says marketers are in danger of adopting technology randomly without taking the time to build a sustainable marketing strategy.

More than a third (36%) of those marketers who reported a random embrace of technology solutions – many of them cloud based according to the report – had no clear long-term plans for them. This compares to the 9% of respondents who boasted of a digital marketing model with a clear path for technology evolution.

The danger of technology and data overload

Neal-May adds: “While 67 percent of survey respondents believe new marketing technologies are essential or very important to overall marketing group performance and effectiveness, they are being held back by technology overload, too many data sources, and lack of strategic application and integration of disparate point solutions and data.”

The findings are based on a quantitative survey during the third quarter of 2014 of more than 150 marketers, as well as qualitative interviews with senior marketers at brands such as Disney and Wells Fargo.