What CMOs need to address today to protect their digital marketing efforts

Victoria Chappell is senior marketing director EMEA at Integral Ad Science.

Digital brings vast opportunities for CMOs to reach consumers anytime, anywhere, on a variety of devices and channels. But continuous evolution and innovation makes digital a fast-moving landscape, creating a plethora of challenges from technological understanding and financial accountability, to tackling hot topic issues such as, ad fraud and brand safety.

The rapid rise of digital has put CMOs on a steep learning curve and some are struggling to keep up with the continual changes. Despite two-thirds of CMOs planning to increase digital advertising spend this year, 40% admit to having insufficient control over their business’ digital investments or programmes.

So, what are the issues impacting CMOs as digital continues to play an increasingly important role in marketing strategy, and what steps can they take to address them?

Continuous education

The IDM Professional Skills Census identifies 13 key skills marketers believe are essential to their future career and the success of the industry. Worryingly, less than half of marketers reported having any training in these areas, including data, digital, management, and strategy.

To protect their digital efforts CMOs must work towards uniting their marketing teams, enabling them to work together towards common goals

Ongoing education and training are essential for CMOs and their teams to make the most of digital marketing, particularly on emerging platforms to ensure they fully comprehend new technology, new jargon, and the potential impact on their business.

CMOs must understand how to break down and analyse data to produce actionable consumer insights that drive effective targeting and personalisation, as well as keep on top of industry developments and new regulations so they can quickly adapt business strategies.

A united marketing team

The exponential rise of digital has resulted in disjointed online marketing teams siloed by channel, with the display team often working separately from the social teams, and individuals within those teams specialising in areas like search and video. These various digital departments are often completely separate to the offline marketing teams, with each group allocated their own budget to work towards unconnected KPIs.

To protect their digital marketing efforts, CMOs must work towards uniting their marketing teams, enabling them to work together towards common goals. By sharing data and resources, marketers can join the dots in the consumer journey as it now traverses multiple online and offline channels. CMOs can then gain a holistic view of performance and understand the impact different marketing tactics have on one another. This overview allows them to allocate budgets effectively to achieve maximum returns while providing a seamless consumer experience.

Leveraging budgets

The CMO is directly accountable for marketing performance, so they must be able to demonstrate where budgets are being spent and the return they are generating. On the plus side, digital can be far more measurable than offline marketing techniques, with attribution tools accurately identifying and assigning credit to the touch points that led to a conversion. But on the downside, this very measurability has heightened expectations, meaning CMOs need to drive the most out of all available marketing budget.

CMOs can achieve the necessary level of accountability by investing in technologies to measure marketing performance at a granular level across multiple channels and devices. The insights generated can then be fed back into the loop to optimise campaigns in real time, minimising waste and maximising ROI, as well as informing future marketing strategy and enabling smarter decision-making.

Technology to ensure quality

Despite the many benefits digital marketing brings, it has suffered from well-publicised quality issues relating to ad fraud, viewability, and brand safety. CMOs are under pressure to ensure their ads are served in a safe and relevant environment, and to also make sure ads have the opportunity to be seen by real, valuable consumers.

Ongoing education is essential for CMOs and their teams to make the most of digital marketing – particularly on emerging platforms to ensure they comprehend not just the jargon, but the business impact

There are technologies and techniques available to tackle these quality issues, such as ad fraud detection tools and page-level brand risk analysis. The use of the right technologies, as well as pan-industry initiatives and accreditation programs, are continually improving the quality of digital media. In the first half of 2018, global viewability in desktop display increased by 19% – with more than three-fifths (63.4%) of all ads meeting minimum viewability standards – and the risk posed to brands by inappropriate online content fell by 22%.

In addition, CMOs can make use of third-party verification to ensure impressions really are viewable, fraud-free, and brand safe, so they can be confident every media buy has the opportunity to be effective.

Once every digital ad impression is protected, CMOs can concentrate on growing brand presence by engaging consumers for longer in ideal environments. By looking at time as an engagement metric, brands can see how long their campaigns are engaging audiences, and reallocate impressions away from placements that fail to meet performance benchmarks, and towards those that meet and exceed them. This ensures marketing budgets are directed towards impressions with the greatest chance of driving results.

With the digital marketing ecosystem continually evolving, CMOs can’t afford to stand still. They must tackle quality issues and new technologies as they arise and learn on the run. By promoting continuous education, unifying marketing teams, implementing granular performance measurement, and embracing technologies and techniques that validate impression quality, CMOs can protect and strengthen digital marketing efforts to take full advantage of the opportunities they bring.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person?

Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.  

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