A new report from IBM takes a look at where the marketing and IT are likely to go over the coming 12 months.

The title then will be no surprise -- The State of Marketing 2012: IBM’s Global Survey of Marketers -- which surveyed more than 350 IT marketing professionals across a wide range of industries and geographies.

Needless to say with such wide geographical variation there are a lot of different conclusions including the finding that 60% of people in marketing say that the reason they are not achieving their goals and reaching customers through new channels, including mobile, is because they are not aligned with the company’s IT department.

Integrated Marketing Suites

However, what is encouraging about it is that, according to Yuchun Lee, Vice President, IBM Enterprise Marketing Management Group, in a blog post that deals with the survey, is that 85% of marketers believe there is a need for an integrated marketing suite.

The objective of these marketing suites is to tune all the marketing channels that reach out to customers to the same wave length, be that social networks, mobile channels or traditional marketing channels.

But, as of 2012, a huge number of marketers say that they do not have an effective strategy of integrating different channels -- in fact only 29% have an integrated marketing channel strategy in place.

Integration Challenges

According to the survey only 29 percent of marketers stated they are effective at integrating different channels.

And why? Well, according to Yuchun there are three reasons:

  1. It's too complicated: 59 say their channels are too disparate and that it would be too difficult to integrate them.
  2. It would cost too much: 57% of marketers believe the cost of integration would be too much.
  3. Marketing and IT aren’t aligned: 60% say IT and marketing departments are not aligned.

So let’s take a look at some of the elements of the report. According to IBM there are a number of 'MUST's that marketers should take from the research findings.

The first thing that needs to happen is that marketing departments must lead the drive to integrate technology. They must:

  • Expand their role to lead customer experience
  • Remove silos and integrate marketing content
  • Embrace a marketing technology platform

The result will be a marketing department that will be able to expand its role to defining and leading their organization's customer experience by using technologies to differentiate and optimize the company's purchasing cycle.

The research shows that where marketing departments fulfill this role, companies tend to do better. In fact, 51% of companies that classified themselves as high performing also said that there was a good working relationship between IT and marketing, 10 percent higher than other companies.

4Ps and IT

But there is more to it than that. Leading customer experience also means that the marketing department takes control of the so-called 4Ps -- products and services, place, price and promotion -- which it can only do in integrated environments.

Another interesting fact that emerged from this report is that marketers from high-performing companies are also likely to lead the coordination of channel messages in functional areas that are not related to marketing.

However, while many companies would probably wish for a marketing department that demonstrates greater leadership in channel management, the role of IT in these circumstances will also be crucial.

As channel integration and the need for the integration of more channels grows, so does the complexity of the tasks and the need for IT to provide integrated suites that can help with that. In fact, 85% of marketers are aware of the need for an integrated suite, up 8% from the last similar study.

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IBM: State of Marketing 2012: Integrated channels


IBM: The State of Marketing 2012 : Integration Challenges

Insight v Action

The survey also found that while marketing departments are managing to derive insights from the information that they draw from the different channels, there are still problems taking those insights and initiating actions based on them.

According to the report, 65% of companies are doing the absolute minimum by reporting and analyzing data that they draw from their online visitors. But only one third of companies are taking that information and using it in other channels.

And even then, only 20% are using this data to make one-to-one offers in traditional channels. To improve this situation, IBM envisions a future where greater integration will be enabled by breaking down data silos. Integration, the report says, is the 'MUST' of the future.

Integration and Email

One of the areas where integration should happen, but hasn’t happened to a large extent yet is with email. The prevalence of email is still notable in most enterprises, but as yet 66% of companies are still only integrating email into their customer mart manually, if they do it at all. Even in the higher performing companies, only 37% of them are automating email integration.

Social and Mobile

However, if email is a challenging -- and we know from previous studies that it is -- social and mobile are even bigger challenges. According to the survey, not only are they challenging, but the majority of companies believed that they are the biggest challenges.

Mobile

Marketers share concerns with CMOs over the proliferation of channels and devices. They're also pre-occupied with important day-to-day mechanics of customer collaboration and influence, financial constraints and ROI accountability of the activities they are mobilizing, but success hinges on integration.

Despite all the talk about mobile and how it helps business, the survey found that only 21% are currently running mobile marketing campaigns as part of integrated campaigns. The result is that 79% are running mobile marketing campaigns ad hoc in silos. While high performing companies are the ones that are tend to have integrated mobile campaigns, this is likely to change of the next 12 months.

 

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IBM State of Marketing 2012: social and mobile proliferation

Social

It seems that again, despite all the talk around it, marketers are still having considerable problems with the use of social media, something that is likely to get worse as companies experiment more and more with different social tools.

Only 22% are currently using social media as part of integrated campaigns and 79% are running campaigns in silos, on an ad hoc basis and discreetly. On top of that, 51% of companies are not using the information obtained through social media to inform their decisions.

Where Now

No survey would be complete without a look into the future and this one is no different. For marketers, it says, inbound marketing adoption across all channels will require greater coordination. Over the next year alone:

  • 50% of companies will be increase spend on all channels over the next year.
  • 71% believe integration across owned, earned and paid for channels is essential
  • 29% only are good are integrating their channels

In terms of interactive optimization:

  • 11% currently do this across channels
  • 42% do it across some channels
  • 19% plan on it over the next 12 months

But there are other ways that marketers can improve their performance. They should collaborate with business functions to expand the role of marketing throughout the purchasing cycle using analytics to assess business performance.

They also need to break down silos, integrate information, as well as define metrics and analytics that meet keep even executives happy.

Marketing software adoption will span deployment models -- requiring hybrid suites. More than 40% of marketers cite that the deployment approach varies based on their requirements.

Increasingly, marketers will need to explore hybrid approaches to tie different point solutions together to achieve their desire of an integrated marketing suite.