Legendary department store magnate John Wannamaker once said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is I don’t know which half.”
This saying may have rung true in the days before digital marketing, but with virtually every conceivable point of communication subject to monitoring, measurement, and tracking, advertising has become more science than art.
For more than two decades, marketers could rely on a steady stream of data that painted a remarkably accurate picture of consumers. Links clicked, websites visited, and emails opened each provided a piece of the puzzle necessary to deliver targeted messages with pinpoint accuracy. The advent of location-based advertising, combined with smartphones and other advances such as Over-The-Top (OTT) streaming services, opened doors for even more specific and personalized advertising.
However, what started as a means of serving relevant content to purchase-ready consumers soon became regarded as increasingly obtrusive invasions of privacy.
Even as far back as 2015, consumers began to push back. In its Americans’ Views About Data Collection and Security report, the Pew Research Center found that 90% of all adults surveyed wanted to control what information was collected, and a whopping 93% wanted to control who could get information about them.
Although technology such as ad blockers and other browser extensions had been around for years, the EU’s passage of GDPR in 2018 and the establishment of the CAN-SPAM Act aimed to give consumers more oversight and control over unwanted tracking and communication practices. More recent introductions, such as Apple’s “Ask App Not to Track” feature and Google’s upcoming elimination of marketing tracking cookies, further empower consumers to minimize their online behavioral footprint.
With such developments, it’s tempting to think marketers will be forced to revert to those “half of my advertising budget is wasted” days of old. The truth, however, is that there’s still a tremendous amount of data at their disposal. In fact, some new ad tech services tout the ability to deliver even greater volumes of data, with some claiming a 10x increase in consumer insights it can provide.
If marketers want to attract (and keep) new customers, it’s clear they must rely on increasingly diverse sources of omnichannel data to ensure their message gets through to consumers in a boisterous world.
This new dynamic is fueling three significant trends that are shaking up the digital marketing world:
- Marketers are redefining how they measure campaign effectiveness
Marketing contribution to revenue remains the ultimate barometer of success. Still, traditional measures of progress—“vanity metrics” such as email opens, clicks, and engagement—are being replaced with more tangible and verifiable metrics such as opt-in rates, conversions, and pipeline growth.
- Brand marketing will always have its place, but performance marketing is king
Recent reports indicate that the performance-based digital marketing industry is slated to grow at a brisk 13.1% CAGR between 2025 and 2028, at a value of $681 billion. This reflects the KPI-driven environment that typifies today’s marketing function.
- Savvy marketers are building strong data competencies within the department
Most large organizations have dedicated data analysis teams in place. Still, they’ve often shared resources deployed cross-functionally across the business or, in some instances, resident within a revenue operations team. But to truly harness the opportunities—and overcome the obstacles— presented by today’s digital marketing landscape, data competency must be resident within the marketing team.
To accomplish this last point, i.e. empowering marketing organizations to transform raw data into actionable information and actionable information into results, marketers have been steadily increasing training budgets. In fact, according to a recent Deloitte CMO study, marketers have more than doubled training budgets so they can keep pace with this rapidly evolving landscape.
Just as digital marketing strategies have evolved, so too have corporate training and continuing education resources. When determining the best path for you and your organization, you must consider the return you can expect from those training dollars. That’s why many organizations are embracing the Learning Academy model, an approach that combines self-paced learning and mentor-led support with project work that is rooted in addressing real-world challenges you’re facing in the business today.
This academy model serves as the framework for all of Springboard’s offerings, including our dedicated digital marketing track. Designed specifically for marketing teams within large enterprise-sized organizations, our platform is trusted by leading brands such as Amazon, The North Face, and HP. Clients like HP have reported a 9.2x ROI from projects their teams have developed as part of their coursework alone.
As technological advances and privacy trends continue to evolve, fostering a greater sense of data literacy across the entire marketing team will deliver the agility you need to keep pace with change and keep ahead of the competition.
For more information, visit the Springboard for Business page.