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Brand function named the most important asset for a marketing team as growth remains a priority for 2013

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By Jennifer Faull | Deputy Editor

February 17, 2013 | 3 min read

According to Michael Page Marketing’s 2013 Salary and Insight Report, brand function has taken the lead as a marketing team’s most important asset to help grow a business, with 29 per cent of respondents rating it as the top priority.

The report found that brand was up 10 per cent on 2012 results, taking the top spot from online/website development, which now ranks joint second with CRM (21 per cent). Social media and mobile have both taken a hit, falling 3 per cent on last year’s results.

Paul Sykes, managing director, Michael Page Marketing said the shift could be linked to the cautious and competitive state of the market where brand differentiation is now vital in order to drive market share.

Sykes said: “Growth is on the top of the agenda for nearly six out of ten (57 per cent) companies. However with economic conditions remaining unpredictable marketing teams are still cautious about incremental hiring and therefore must look at their internal resources to justify their ROI.

“In 2012, we saw many marketing departments heavily focused on building their online and digital capabilities,” he said. “Yet it seems teams are now feeling more confident about their capabilities in this area, with 7 per cent less reporting they had a shortfall of digital expertise in their marketing department. The emphasis is now on seeing a return from this digital investment, which when successfully utilised will lead to greater digital investment.”

Sykes continued: “The focus on brand to deliver growth means companies are evaluating their market position, investing where appropriate but ultimately looking to ensure maximum exposure to and awareness of their brand.”

The report found that despite growth being voted as the number one priority for 2013, ‘retaining your best people’ was not seen as a priority for businesses, ranking as important by only 5 per cent of respondents.

Sykes also warned of the serious ramifications of undervaluing the vital component human resource plays in delivering sustainable growth, with six out of 10 respondents not believing their company is doing enough to retain its top talent.

Sykes explained: “While top talent might only represent 5-10 per cent of an organisation’s workforce, the output of this group of individuals can often be the difference between success and failure or profit or loss.”

He said: “Organisations that pay little attention to retaining top talent may quickly find negativity around their employer brand which becomes very hard to shift. Indeed, word of mouth was the top attraction strategy this year.”

The survey also revealed that 8 per cent fewer employers expect to pay salary increases this year. On top of this, 50 per cent of respondents said they that their company was either not going to pay bonuses, or were still unsure of the likelihood of paying them.

On this, Sykes commented: “The good news is, for marketing professionals retention isn’t just about financial rewards. In fact, the majority of this year’s respondents (54 per cent) believe that a positive working environment can be the most effective retention strategy.”

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