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Digital marketing skill sets the lowest in APAC region, survey states

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | November 22, 2012
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Adobe and CMO Council conducted a joint survey to measure the progress of digital marketing in the region.

While a majority of Indian marketers are analytical and strategic in their approach to digital marketing, support from senior management and budget limitations are low compared to their foreign counterparts, states a survey conducted jointly by CMO Council and Adobe. Titled the APAC Digital Marketing Performance Dashboard, the survey revealed that a mere 20 per cent of Indian marketers earmarked over a quarter of marketing budgets to digital marketing. This figure is expected to grow by another 10 per cent in the coming year.

The survey aimed to measure digital marketing's progress in terms of adoption, traction and success in Australia, China, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and India. It highlighted how marketers in India believe digital marketing gives an additional edge to their companies and about 70 per cent of them test the results of digital marketing campaigns. Also, 21 per cent marketers (about 2 per cent higher than the regional average) felt that their ability to find out return on investment (ROI) was excellent or good. At the same time, only 44 per cent of senior managers in India strongly supported piloting new programmes, while the regional average stood at 60 per cent.

Umang Bedi

Mark Phibbs

The survey interviewed more than 295 senior marketing figures, including 54 from India, from different industries in the Asia Pacific region. The Indian marketers were from companies such as ICICI Bank, Taj Hotels, Dr Lal Pathlabs and Tupperware.

The perception that customer cost of acquisition was an important ROI parameter was higher among Indian marketers (65 per cent) compared to their counterparts in Singapore (57 per cent) and Australia (55 per cent). Also, while 65 per cent of the Indian respondents believe that digital marketing has the ability to engage and activate audiences, the figure stood at 81 per cent for Hong Kong. Indian marketers also rated the skill sets of digital agencies as poor. In fact, it was lowest across the region. They were also more receptive to take into account data and analytics as key competitive differentiators.

Some of the key forces that drive adoption of digital marketing in India, according to the respondents, are high internet access in the country (70 per cent), greater ability to engage with the audience (65 per cent), reach of population through mobile devices (54 per cent) and increased usage of social networking and gaming websites (63 per cent).

Umang Bedi, managing director, South Asia, Adobe, says, "With over 120 million active internet users and 950 million mobile phone subscriptions, the Indian market presents a unique opportunity for marketers to embrace digital marketing. The report aptly highlights that over 70 per cent of Indian marketers see the growing size and appealing demographics of the internet population as a huge opportunity for the adoption of digital strategies. This was the highest result for this question across the APAC region."

Mark Phibbs, senior director, marketing, Adobe, APAC, says, "The results from India paint a picture of committed and engaged digital marketing professionals who are struggling with budget restraints and with the need to educate and evangelise the benefits of digital marketing to senior management. With the right budgets and executive support, India's digital marketers have the potential to take a leadership position in developing and executing highly strategic digital marketing programmes."

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