Since the beginning of the pandemic era, strategic digital marketing has become the same as marketing leadership to achieve overall marketing objectives.
Digital marketers today have a much more prominent role to play within their organizations. The marked shift toward digital business last year due to the pandemic has expanded digital marketing remit to include advanced strategic marketing objectives.
The degree to which digital marketing leadership aligns with general marketing leadership is a direct outcome of the extended role digital now plays over various marketing strategies and objectives. As per the Gartner 2021 Digital Marketing Survey of 350+ marketing professionals worldwide, nearly 36% of digital marketing leaders hold the title of chief marketing officer.
Since the connection between marketing leadership and digital marketing continues to grow, marketing experts are required to stay aware of the potential obstacles and efforts. This will help them increase the impact of marketing in their organization.
In this unprecedented time, digital marketing is liable for defining and meeting strategic marketing goals using connected conversations which engage target market segments – spanning different digital channels.
The digital marketing professionals have thus required expertise across a range of functions – including content creation and management, core marketing channels to analytics, media planning, and buying, as well as, digital commerce.
Even though most of the respondents do not indicate sole responsibility, they lead an outsized group responsible for such initiatives. It involves driving customer retention, designing processes, and workflows in order to optimize the evolving roles of relevant channels.
Contributing to the concern is the degree to which marketing decision makers progressively aligns with the entire marketing leadership. It was reflected in the seniority of the surveyed respondents — almost 85% of the digital marketing leaders hold the title of VP or higher.
Gartner also indicated that IT plays a strong role in elevating marketing technologies and data analytics while managing those technologies to maximum effect. And, CEO is the digital marketing leader’s strongest proponent in an organization. This put CEO at the center of the marketing leader’s collaboration zone, alongside IT.
The broad set of responsibilities by digital marketing leaders similarly extends to channel-specific strategies along with execution. For most channel-related initiatives, most marketers (50%) noted that they are responsible for:
- Content marketing strategy and its execution (57%)
- Branding, advertising strategy and execution (54%)
- Integrating mobile marketing to the digital mix (53%)
- SEO/SEM strategy as well as execution (53%)
- Email marketing strategy and implementation (52%)
- Media strategy and overall execution (51%)
Clearly, digital marketing leaders, mainly those with an organization-wide span of control, need to balance broader business objectives along with channel strategy as well as execution goals. Striving for the right balance demands channel-agnostic decisions within the service of larger objectives.
As digital marketing continues on the path of improved collaboration, marketing leaders across organizations need to watch out for roadblocks with sales, product development, and supply chain operations. Otherwise, they can hinder the marketing efforts going forward – this is more acute for the B2B organizations.
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