A new report produced by Bynder, leading data asset management solution, has uncovered the top priorities, goals and ways marketing teams will be managing themselves in 2017. The state of branding uncovered research carried out through a survey of 562 global brand managers and chief marketing officers on the challenges they face day to day, their priorities for the year ahead, the future and their approach to technology.
The report provides branding and marketing professionals insights into how brand marketing is evolving in a consumer-centric, digital age. Faced with new technologies, a wealth of platforms and an abundance of data at their fingertips, marketing professionals are under increasing pressure to navigate the digital landscape we live in today.
New customer acquisition is top dog
The survey found that the top priority for brand marketers in 2017 is new customer acquisition. 34% of those surveyed revealed that this new customer acquisition would take precedent, with 21% of them saying brand awareness closely followed. All marketing teams, regardless of sector, company or size agreed that new customers were the focus for the year ahead to secure future loyalty.
34% believe that proving ROI remains the top challenge
Proving the ROI of marketing efforts remains the top challenge for marketers, internally and externally. As well as streamlining the collaboration between departments and adapting to changing consumer behaviours, finding top talent and aligning content with brand guidelines, marketers face many hurdles in the year to come, especially in finding new technologies to streamline customer experiences.
The value of customer relationships is on the rise
The consumer-brand relationship has undergone significant change over the last few years, and the definition of a successful brand has evolved with it. Over half of the survey respondents agreed that customer experience is the hallmark of a brand’s success, eclipsing the more traditional aspects of brand building such as brand consistency and storytelling.
72% of marketing teams focus on building audiences
72% of respondents were focused on building their audience as opposed to directly selling to consumers. This confirms that in today’s digital landscape where consumers utilise ad blockers to block marketing messages, brands need to focus more on earning attention. Building audiences is more valuable than direct sales for over 70% of marketers.
Customer experience technology is the most sought after
Customer experience was found to be one of the top three priorities for marketers in this year’s budget, therefore it’s no surprise that 45% of companies surveyed will be investing in customer experience tools this year, compared to the 34% of those who currently invest in them. Marketing analytics, (57%) and social media monitoring (49%) remain the top two investments for marketing departments.
VR and AI are further away from adoption than predicted
Despite the advancements in VR, AI, augmented reality and chatbots, 65% of companies said they wouldn’t invest in these new technologies in 2017. 360 video (19%) and virtual reality (14%) were the most popular investments, followed by chatbots (9%), beacon technology (8%) and augmented reality (7%). Despite the lack of investment, respondents did reveal that they believed VR would have the biggest impact on marketing in the next five years.
While new customer acquisition will still be a major focus for brand and marketing managers in 2017, building audiences is more valuable than direct sales for over two thirds of our respondents. Marketers will continue to invest in tools that make their marketing activities more effective and measurable, but they will not be investing in new technologies such as virtual reality, despite recognising their inherent value.