The Report from WBR Insights and SheerID Reveals Marketers’ Top 2 Concerns Are Differentiating in a Noisy Marketplace and Rising Privacy Concerns. Report Also Details Marketers’ Planned Investments for 2019
According to a new survey of 150 digital marketers across the US – with most employed by companies doing $1 Billion or more in annual revenue – 77% feel under greater pressure to meet acquisition and revenue goals than they did one year ago. Published today by SheerID and WBR Insights, the report surveyed digital marketers within the retail, travel, financial services, consumer-packaged goods and food services industries. The survey asked marketers questions regarding the top concerns they have for acquiring new customers and the strategies and tactics they plan to use in 2019.
Surprisingly, marketing program owners, not c-suite executives, felt the greatest pressure compared to a year ago. Marketing program owners within the travel (97%) and retail (81%) sectors reported feeling more pressure than they did last year. Only 33% of C-Suite executives – across all industries – stated that they felt more pressure to meet new customer acquisition and revenue targets.
What’s causing the pressure?
Marketers are struggling with a noisy marketplace. Respondents indicated that the single biggest challenge they faced when acquiring new customers was “competitive differentiation”. “Privacy concerns and/or privacy regulations” (19%) ranked as the second biggest challenge, as privacy laws like GDPR restrain marketing efforts. Moreover, when asked about their concerns with online and social advertising networks, 60% stated they are “concerned about the lack of control of consumer data”. “Rising costs” (16%) was the third greatest challenge cited, with half expressing concern regarding the rising acquisition costs from online and social advertising networks.
Reliance on Mass Discounting Likely Adding to Market Noise
Marketers are leaning heavily on mass discounting tactics, with 80% stating that promotions and discounts are an important part of their customer acquisition strategies. Mass discounting is particularly prevalent within the travel and retail industries, with 93% of travel and 75% of retail marketers running either weekly or “continuous” discounts. 62% of travel and 50% of retail marketers said “nothing prevents me from running more promotions.” In fact, 69% of retail marketers believe increasing the level or frequency of promotions and discounts will help increase sales, exacerbating the “noise” in the market.
Where will brands put their marketing dollars in the coming year?
Marketers across the board expressed a clear desire for finding novel approaches to acquire customers: despite plans to invest more across all marketing channels, 71% are looking for ways to differentiate through “new” marketing channels versus investing in existing ones (51%). Additionally, marketers across every segment are beginning to question the value of mass discounting with 65% expressing a worry that running more promotions will either condition consumers to expect discounts, devalue their brand or reduce their margins. Only 35% believe more universal promotions and discounts don’t have a negative effect.
Despite the travel and retail industries’ heavy reliance on mass discounting, 93% and 78% respectively said they would use or trial “gated offers” today – that is, promotions and special offers that are targeted and made available only to a specific market segment such as students or active military. Moreover, 95% of respondents across all five industries stated an interest in trying, testing, or researching gated offers today.
“We found a certain irony in the results of this survey,” stated Jake Weatherly, CEO of SheerID. “At a time when a seemingly unlimited number of advertising vehicles are available to marketers, these professionals are struggling more than ever to get the attention and business of consumers because of oversaturation. What also seems clear – certainly in the context of promotions – is that marketers who take a more selective, targeted approach with their campaigns are the ones who are feeling less pressure to meet their acquisition and revenue goals.”