It’s the fourth quarter and most digital marketers are undoubtedly feeling the pressure. Aside from being the home stretch for achieving the year’s targets and goals, this period is also when planning and budgeting for marketing decisions for the next year are made. Decisions that will determine not just how a company or organization will tackle the changing digital business landscape, but also impact the readiness of digital marketers to respond to demands and expectations.
Digital marketers’ nightmare
There’s little doubt that digital marketers are facing increased responsibility for demonstrating ROI from marketing activities. But not every marketer relishes this. Results from the recent Adobe Digital Stress Survey point to a real skill and knowledge gap in campaign execution and measurement among digital marketers. According to the survey, marketers did not feel confident that they were effective at connecting with customers and verifying the impact of their campaign efforts.
If anything, these survey results are a tell-tale sign of just how ill-equipped many marketers are for addressing the needs of today’s rapidly changing digital business environment. The growing complexity and unpredictability of the market have brought issues of attribution, optimization, and analysis to the fore, thereby increasing marketers’ frustration and dissatisfaction with their own skills and effectiveness.
A wake-up call
A positive aspect of surveys like the Adobe Digital Stress Survey is that they shed light on problems that have long been simmering in the background. And with this comes hope that organizational leaders will begin to recognize that most of their marketing problems cannot be answered by technological solutions alone but must have a strong people component to be sustainable and effective.
Investing in people is usually the harder route, but has a huge payoff. This is especially the case when it comes to areas directly related to marketing performance, such as conversion optimization (CRO) and/or analytics. As the recently released Econsultancy’s Conversion Rate Optimization Report 2013 shows, companies which adopted a structured approach to conversion rate optimization were “twice as likely to see an increase in conversion.” And for the most part, the success of a conversion rate optimization program depends on the skill levels within the company.
Ending the nightmare
Consequently, companies that are looking to grow in 2014 must first be willing to commit to closing the gaps between what’s expected vs. the real capacities of their digital marketing teams. They must focus on improving digital marketers’ abilities to create, implement, and measure effective campaigns; activities that are actually at the heart of the conversion optimization discipline. There are several ways to do this, but the first step is obviously educating and training digital marketers in conversion optimization. For instance, companies can begin by sending their digital marketing team to Conversion Conference to learn the entire CRO process (shameless plug, but that’s what some of the biggest players in the B2B and ecommerce industries have done).
Of course, the work does not stop at CRO training. Organizations must create or support strategies that encourage digital marketers to continuously learn, experiment, and innovate. One such strategy is structuring incentive systems so that they reward optimization-centered values and behaviors. As Conversion Conference chair Tim Ash noted in his Boston keynote, “What companies incent is typically what employees seek to improve, so having incentives around understanding the psychology behind the sale is ideal.” These incentives encourage digital marketers to continuously seek and test the most effective tactics and techniques at turning visitors into customers, which in turn support and reinforce the building of an optimization-centric culture.
Putting an end to digital marketers’ nightmares is not easy. It may require no less than organizational change for some, and demands the ability to decisively take action especially when it comes to allocating resources. But considering the huge bottom line improvements companies stand to gain, it would be a big mistake to keep putting off an endeavor as valuable as this.
Image credit: Evil Erin via Flickr
Make sure to include Conversion Conference in your 2015 plans. Join us and learn strategies used by the world’s top conversion, usability, and testing experts at Las Vegas, May 13-15, 2015. Sign up early and get a full pass for only $897!