Marketers estimate they will waste 26% of their marketing budget in 2018 on the wrong channels or strategies, according to Rakuten Marketing.

Delving into the changing priorities among global marketers, Rakuten Marketing’s study ‘What Marketers Want from 2018’ observes four key marketer profiles. Each are distinct not only by their workplace personas, but by geography and in some cases, the stage they have reached in their career.

- Architects – 12% of UK marketers - experienced data analysts and many pride themselves on this accordingly (23%) who admit to the least waste of all four types at just 18% of total budget
- Advancers – 49% of UK marketers - by contrast, chase new channels and outlets for their campaigns. 36% are actively looking to invest in voice and 28% are pursuing virtual reality (VR) solutions
- Advocates – 31% of UK marketers – these old school networkers perceive a clear role for video content in 2018 with 56% planning investment but just 5% have still have faith in influencers
- Adapters – 9% of UK marketers – marketing optimisation specialists, 68% have turned away from traditional sales peaks in a bid to keep campaigns constant throughout the year

Alison O’Leary, founder at LiveTrue Career & Life Coaching, said: “The fact that Advancers and Advocates dominate the marketer population today (81%) is no surprise. With the infinite advent of new technologies and channels, and the personal relationship expectations of consumers, marketing has moved from a profession to a lifestyle. However, the disciplined, data-focused skills of Adapters and Architects are equally vital. These marketers are the champions of efficacy, whether optimising technology and channels, legislative opportunities or budgets.”

No room for waste as marketers go global

Surprisingly, marketers in the UK are the least worried about budget waste, estimating just 20% of their budget is lost on the wrong channels or strategies. This rises to 25% in Germany and 30% in France and the US, who surpass all other regions.

Nonetheless, tackling waste will be crucial as 2018 marks the start of a year in which the rising tide of borderless commerce represents a greater opportunity than focusing solely on the local shopper. In fact, just 48% of marketers place the domestic market as a priority.

Non-Western sales periods, such as Chinese New Year and Singles’ Day are picking-up traction, with 13% of Advocates and 14% of Advancers now actively prioritising Singles’ Day. When we look at all marketers’ priorities, 13% of UK and 15% of US marketers are now focused on Singles’ Day, planning specific marketing campaigns for the occasion.

This puts Asia-Pacific sales peaks just a few points behind the likes of Cyber Week (21%) and Prime Day (15%).

Short-term focus could mean long-term pain

Regardless of ad fraud, brand safety and GDPR all dominating the headlines, internationally the most pressing concerns for marketers in 2018 are more familiar short-term concerns - altered customer expectations (50%) and the loss of customers (43%).

Changing customer expectations governs the mindset of Adapters, for instance, who use insights and analytics to closely follow performance. By contrast, Advancers are more likely to invest in video (65%) to match customer expectations. This being the case, it’s interesting to see Advocates also perceive a clear role for video content in 2018 campaigns with 56% planning investment in video content.

But less of a focus on ad fraud, brand safety and GDPR indicates marketers may still feel protected from these areas which could cause them pain in the longer term. Mark Haviland, Executive Vice President of Global Development, Rakuten Marketing, said: “With important regulatory changes happening this year, it is crucial marketing departments have a representation that means the pursuit of new channels and technologies doesn’t come at the expense of paying attention to immediate needs. As ecommerce becomes increasingly borderless, the brands that are enabled to capitalise on new audiences quickest will succeed.”


By Jonathan Davies, editor, Digital Marketing Magazine

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