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Only 21% of Indian Marketers believe that they can track ROI well

The third annual APAC ‘Digital Marketing Performance Dashboard’ conducted by the CMO Council, in partnership with Adobe, shows that while an overwhelming 97 per cent of marketers’ surveyed in India believe that digital marketing is integral to a brand’s success, Only 21% of Indian Marketers believe that they can track ROI well. This is much lower than the APAC average.

The Adobe study, released earlier this week, was drawn up after a six-month in-field program comprising quantitative surveys with over 800 marketing executives. The study benchmarked the levels of adoption, traction and success of digital marketing in Australia, New Zealand, China, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and India. Senior marketers within the Asia Pacific region from a range of industries took part, with 44% holding a title of Vice President or higher.

Management support and customer demands are crucial for digital adoption

In an important cue for brand managers and communicators, the study also shows that senior management support is crucial to driving digital adoption. While India showed a high alignment between marketing teams and CIOs, senior management mindshare for digital has dropped from 60% in 2013 to 51% in 2014. Strong senior management support and receptivity to piloting and testing is also less for India than the APAC average.

According to the Adobe report, as compared to their APAC counterparts, Indian marketers are receiving lesser support from channel and sales teams for increasing digital spends. However they’re doing better as compared to last year suggesting that departments that interact with customers do understand the importance of digital marketing – a critical aspect to integrating digital in the marketing plans of brands.

Using data for personalised customer experience

While India is a high data crunching market, only 6% of marketers surveyed in India believed that they were using data correctly. And only 55% of marketers’ believed that they were engaging audiences in the right manner.

While Indian marketers are more confident than their APAC counterparts overall in their marketing maturity (58% feel they are high or progressive in marketing maturity as compared to 35% in APAC). However, their understanding of digital marketing effectiveness is very much in the developing stage (company’s ability to measure value of digital and its ROI: getting better - 43%: needs improvement - 31%; high on excellence - 5%).

Speaking at the first Viewpoint Roundtable, organised by The PRactise in September, on Digital Marketing, senior Adobe executives offered a preview of the study commenting that, “Using data to provide customer experience is the next threshold of digital marketing.”

Marketers’ need to use data to offer customers the same personalised experience online as they would get at an offline store.

Indian market is maturing

Even as India has shown dropping levels of digital adoption in some areas such as management mindshare for digital marketing, the country has emerged as one of the digital marketing performance leaders in the APAC region after Australia.

“This year we are noticing that the Indian marketers are reflecting on the efficacy of their campaigns and shifting from a tactical campaign-specific, KPI-driven approach, to demonstrating the business impact and value of digital as a strategy to engage customers,” says Umang Bedi, Managing Director, South Asia, Adobe.

Mind the talent gap

More marketers in India have dedicated and experienced in-house digital marketing analysts as compared to APAC. 30% of them have a dedicated director of digital. However a very measly percentage of marketers believe that data is integrated throughout the marketing lifecycle.

Marketers are also disappointed in their agencies’ effectiveness across strategy, execution and measurement.

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