New ANA Research: How Marketers Deal With Industry Disruptions

By ANA InSites Archives
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According to new ANA research, the biggest single challenge for marketers trying to remain relevant to their target audiences is ever-increasing consumer expectations.

For the third year in a row, the ANA, in partnership with McKinsey & Company, surveyed a sample of its members to find out what the top industry disruptions were and whether they were finding ways to successfully overcome them. Results revealed not only that consumer desire for instant gratification was the most disruptive force last year, but that it was caused by the same thing marketers have been using to solve it: technology.

“When consumers are ordering T-shirts they can get the same day from Amazon and streaming movies instantaneously, they are expecting that kind of service in all parts of their lives,” says Brian Deffaa, Group Vice President of Marketing at SunTrust Mortgage. “Competitors have sprung up and stolen lots of share because they allow consumers to give instantaneous feedback on what they should do and how they should operate. If you can remove that friction, customers are more likely to come to you, especially when you’re selling a commodity.”

The challenge for brands is that for every new app, platform or measurement tool that emerges, a test-and-learn period follows and best practices are yet to be discovered. Marketers not only have to learn how to best use the technology at their disposal, they also have to decide which platforms to adopt to best connect with their audiences.

There is positive news for brands, though. In 2016, some marketers were better able to meet consumer expectations by taking ownership of their organization’s marketing technology strategy. Brands that invested in marketing technology yielded an average of 10 percent new revenue from their campaigns.

But there is still room for improvement. Almost half of respondents said their marketing and IT teams do not collaborate, making it difficult to integrate technology into their marketing processes or measure results. Many said they plan to reverse course during the next two years by investing in personalization tools, content platforms and social and analytics technologies.

“Having an effective marketing technology strategy in place is critical to keeping up with customer demands,” says Todd Kaiser of the ANA’s Marketer’s Edge research program. “The research shows us that making a commitment to technology investment and the development of digital skill sets can lead to significant results.”

The rapid rate at which marketing technology is evolving, with the almost exponential annual increase in the number and types of solutions coming to market, is itself a disruptor. But as this study has shown, marketers view technology as the way to turn disruptions into opportunities.

Five Key Findings

  • Consumer behavior drives marketing technology investments.  One-click purchasing, same-day delivery, instant search results and a ubiquitous media presence shape the demands and expectations that consumers have of the brands they interact with.
  • Successful companies are investing in new technologies and people in response to disruptions.  Technology investments enable agile, cross-functional teams that can accurately test and measure.
  • Marketing’s ownership of marketing technology strategy is critical to success.  As marketers actively invest in new technologies to mitigate the disruptions they experience, it is crucial to ensure that the technologies serve the business, not the other way around.
  • Technology-produced insights lead to increased ROI.  Forty-nine percent of companies that outperform the market have all the marketing tools they need, compared to just 16 percent of their poorer-performing peers.
  • Full marketing technology integration drives effectiveness, but barriers still exist. The most important barrier to address is lack of a clear strategy for the adoption of marketing technology.

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