Digital tools and technologies are valuable to marketers but many companies struggle to measure the financial impact and capture customer data, according to a new survey from McKinsey.
A new global survey from the management consultancy finds that digital media and online tools remain a largely untapped resource for companies. While they appreciate the potential for tools like social media to add value, few are taking the structural steps required to benefit from selling online or engaging consumers through new technologies.
The survey asked marketing executives from around the world about the digital tools and channels their companies use and expect to use, the challenges they face and actions they have taken in response, and the metrics available to assess performance online. Most respondents said they were still trying to figure out how digital media can meaningfully improve their bottom lines.
Despite the tremendous increase in data available to them in recent years, marketing execs said producing and using customer insights was the most pressing competitive challenge facing them. While they aspire to use data to drive sales and customer engagement, they also admit their companies often have only basic customer information - and they report difficulties in measuring the impact of online tools and channels.
The survey results also suggest leadership issues and a lack of internal resources are hampering efforts to develop better analytical capabilities and, as a result, better information and insights about customers.
Respondents also say they lack the internal leadership and resources to develop better analytical capabilities
Marketing executives overwhelmingly agree that an effective online presence is very or extremely important for staying competitiveand more than half of respondents say that over the past two years, the increasing prevalence of digital media and tools has changed their companies’ ability to interact with and serve new customers.
However these tools seem to be creating little competitive differentiation. Just over half of respondents, for example, say their companies and competitors earn about the same share of revenue from online sales, with almost equal numbers of other respondents estimating shares above and below.
Respondents believe their companies should be using a broader range of tools over the next two to four years, especially mobile applications and social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, while far fewer respondents say their companies should use their home pages and e-mail most often to communicate in the future. Nearly three-quarters of respondents say their companies currently use social media to achieve business objectives in some way and 46% say their companies use some social-media tools to complement other marketing efforts.