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Budget Restrictions and Talent Shortage Fail to Dampen Confidence in Digital Marketing as Transformation Continues Across Asia-Pacific

New Study From CMO Council and Adobe Shows High Hopes and Increasing Management Support for Investment as Marketers Commit to Digital Marketing to Engage Consumers More Effectively

PALO ALTO, CA and SINGAPORE -- (Marketwire) -- 11/20/12 -- Digital marketing transformation across Asia is advancing thanks to high levels of optimism in digital marketing's ability to attract and engage a highly mobile and digitally connected consumer, according to findings of a new study from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. Regional and global leaders largely support the move to digital, but the reality of limited budgets, a lack of talent across both in-house and agency teams, and a desire to move slowly in "pilot-mode" versus full deployments may slow the march forward as Asia looks to catch up with global digital marketing practices.

The study, dubbed the "APAC Digital Marketing Performance Dashboard," revealed more than 90 percent of marketers believe digital marketing could create competitive advantage for their company, and 52 percent feel that digital marketing is crucial in helping create a more customer-centric organization. Management's view on digital also bolstered confidence, as 38 percent of marketing leaders said they had at least one strong digital marketing champion on the APAC leadership team of their organization, and a further 60 percent said the promise of greater accountability from the marketing function was driving the leadership's interest in digital marketing strategy and programs.

Despite management support, strategy and capabilities are falling short as only 6 percent of respondents said they rated their own digital marketing operations as "highly evolved." Low budgets are also slowing the advancement of digital, with 53 percent of respondents citing budget limitations as a significant factor preventing them from undertaking critical activities such as testing and analysis.

But marketers are hopeful for the future and expect to increase investment in the fiscal year ahead. In fact, 47 percent of respondents said they would increase allocation to digital marketing to between 10-24 percent of total marketing budgets, and 22 percent said they would increase spend to 25-49 percent.

"Interest and optimism in digital marketing are high, but investment levels across Asia-Pacific are still low," noted Mark Phibbs, Senior Director of Marketing for Adobe APAC. Seventy-two percent of APAC marketers spend less than 25 percent of their total budget on digital, and 37 percent allocate less than 10 percent. However, the percentage of marketers expecting to allocate more than 50 percent of their budget is set to almost double in the fiscal year ahead. The commitment to digital is clearly happening."

As their global marketing peers are looking to digital marketing channels to deliver insights and intelligence to help power everything from customer engagements to products, APAC marketers have a more tactically focused data agenda. Only 7 percent of marketers see data as a key competitive differentiator, instead looking to data to measure KPIs (key performance indicators) and campaign results. Only 15 percent of respondents leverage data continuously throughout a campaign's lifecycle, and only 19 percent diagnose results and enhance audience segmentation with data collected through digital campaigns.

Significant gaps appeared across the region between countries using digital marketing analytics and reporting technologies. Seventy-two percent of all respondents are using analytics and reporting technologies, with Australia and Korea recording the highest levels at 84 percent. However, at the other end of the spectrum, 62 percent of respondents in China, 35 percent of respondents in India and 31 percent of respondents in Hong Kong said they were not using any such technologies.

"As marketing pushes forward to a more measured and customer data-driven future, marketers in Asia-Pacific must evolve their thinking to see data as more than a reporting tool and begin to leverage enhanced analytics and intelligence to improve digital performance, enhance targeting and segmentation, and better direct relevant content and experiences," said Liz Miller, the CMO Council's Vice President of Global Programs and Operations. "It is clear that marketers across the region are ready to run into a digital future, but as the hyper-connected digital consumer continues to evolve, marketers must invest in the people, processes and platforms that will better predict and prepare them for these engagement opportunities."

Nearly half of respondents believe their current marketing teams do not have the right skills, experience or talent needed to take on an advanced digital strategy. While many are limited in their talent acquisition by a lack of budget to bring on the right level of skills, it is also clear that the right talent is hard to find in the region. One in four respondents say they are unable to find the right staff with the right skills, while 32 percent say that their agency capabilities are also lacking, limiting their ability to execute effectively.

The study highlights the varying levels of readiness, mindset and adoption of technologies and channels across the region. "While Asia-Pacific marketers are eager to advance, they lag behind more developed markets like North America and Europe in adoption and advancement of data-driven digital decisions," Miller noted.

Phibbs continued that research was significant in understanding how Asia-Pacific's marketers are leading their organizations into the digital future. "It's not only important in terms of reaching and engaging domestic markets; Asia-Pacific companies are competing globally, and digital marketing is a critical factor in identifying and qualifying new markets, reaching new customers, building the brand and maintaining strong business opportunities internationally."

The study includes a comprehensive dashboard that benchmarks the key drivers and influencers of digital marketing advancement: market mindset, organizational alignment, marketing readiness and marketing skills. Also featured in the 85 report are in-depth findings from quantitative and qualitative surveys conducted across key Asia-Pacific markets. The inaugural study benchmarked the levels of adoption, traction and success of digital marketing in Australia, China, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and India, and 295 senior marketers from a range of industries took part. The report, along with a complimentary executive summary, is available for download at: http://cmocouncil.org/r/apac-digital-marketing-performance

About the CMO Council
The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council is dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership, and personal relationship building among senior corporate marketing leaders and brand decision-makers across a wide-range of global industries. The CMO Council's 6,000 members control more than $300 billion in aggregated annual marketing expenditures and run complex, distributed marketing and sales operations worldwide. In total, the CMO Council and its strategic interest communities include more than 20,000 global executives in more than 110 countries covering multiple industries, segments and markets. Regional chapters and advisory boards are active in the Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, India, and Africa. The council's strategic interest groups include the Coalition to Leverage and Optimize Sales Effectiveness (CLOSE), LoyaltyLeaders.org, Marketing Supply Chain Institute, Customer Experience Board, Market Sense-Ability Center, Digital Marketing Performance Institute, GeoBranding Center, and the Forum to Advance the Mobile Experience (FAME). More information about the CMO Council is available at www.cmocouncil.org.

About Adobe Systems Incorporated
Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences. For more information, visit www.adobe.com. Keep up to date with news and views from APAC digital marketers on the Adobe Digital Dialogue blog at blogs.adobe.com/digitaldialogue/. Join APAC marketers on the Digital Dialogue Asia-Pacific LinkedIn group. Follow Adobe Digital Marketing Suite news and updates via @AdobemktgCloud.

CMO Council Media Contact
Crystal Berry
Communications and Marketing Program Manager
Email Contact

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