dipping a toe in
Marketers are extremely cautious about investing in emerging technologies, Bynder found. PHOTO: Kelsey O'Brien

Marketers may be interested in technologies like virtual reality, chatbots and beacons. But they aren't investing in them — at least not this year, according to a survey from Amsterdam-based Bynder, a provider of digital asset management software.

Researchers asked marketers which technologies they plan to invest in this year. The results: 360 video (19 percent), virtual reality (14 percent), chatbots (9 percent), beacon technology (8 percent), augmented reality (7 percent), biometrics technology (4 percent) and other (2 percent).

But a startling 65 percent of the 562 global brand managers and chief marketing officers surveyed for Bynder's 2017 State of Branding report said "none of the above." 

Weighing the Value

Lidia Lüttin
Lidia Lüttin

Perhaps marketers don't know specifically how they'd benefit from such technologies for brand marketing, said Bynder CMO Lidia Lüttin.

"That was one of the big surprises for us," Lüttin told CMSWire. "Survey respondents believe these new technologies will have a huge impact. However, they have still decided not to invest in them in 2017."

Another surprise finding in the Bynder survey was marketers' take on buyer personas. 

Bynder found buyer personas are more effective for B2B organizations (63 percent) than B2C organizations (53 percent). Almost half of the marketers from B2C organizations said buyer personas are only moderately effective at helping them target ideal customers.

Person-building is one of the core elements of personalization. It's thankless groundwork that takes large investments of time. Some believe it's a worthy investment.

Researchers asked respondents why they didn't plan to build buyer personas.

Aaron Russo, brand territory manager for Marathon Petroleum, said in the report, "The specific industry, and market we are in, includes a diverse range of customer types, from gender to ethnicity to geographical location."

Bynder survey

Nicolas Deskos, editor of OnBrand Magazine, Bynder's digital magazine that published the survey findings, told CMSWire marketers may build personas without the right targeting in mind.

"Maybe they still are going the old fashioned route like demographics as opposed to buyers' personalities," Deskos said. "They're not thinking of the psychology of the buyer. What makes someone buy something, as opposed to just factoring in their age."

How do marketers build their personas? Most in the Bynder survey said they use buyer interviews (60 percent). That was followed by consulting stakeholders (50 percent), online surveys (43 percent), social media analysis (36 percent), analyst reports (34 percent), web research (32 percent), web analytics (29 percent) and other (10 percent).

ROI Still Challenging

Other findings from the report include:

  • New customer acquisition ranked first in marketing priorities for 2017 (34 percent), and customer retention last (6 percent)
  • Proving ROI for marketing activities was No. 1 for marketing challenges (34 percent)
  • New customer acquisition (75 percent) and social media engagement (72 percent) led the way for metrics and KPIs to determine successful brand marketing activities
  • Marketing analytics (58 percent) and social media monitoring (49 percent) topped the list of marketing-tool investments in 2017

Some respondents reported a shift in marketing strategy.

"We have changed our marketing strategy to reflect our customers’ position in the buying journey," said Sascha Sinclair, in-house creative director and brand manager for McMillan Shakespeare. "We’re moving more into content marketing, and replacing spray and pray approach.”