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Tech Problems Biggest Hurdle for Marketers Connecting with Consumers, Survey Shows

27 Jun, 2012 By: Jackie Jones

ARMONK, N.Y. – Chief marketing officers (CMO) and chief information officers (CIO) must partner to help brands and businesses better connect with consumers across emerging channels, including mobile devices and social networks, according to a new survey by IBM.

Sixty percent of marketers said “a lack of alignment with the company’s IT department” is the current biggest obstacle to reaching today’s consumers, according to IBM’s “State of Marketing 2012.”

“This research indicates that as new channels continue to mature and consumer habits evolve, marketing and IT have one alternative but to emerge from their traditional silos and form a strong partnership that puts the business in a position to succeed,” said Yuchun Lee, vice president of IBM Enterprise Marketing Management Group. “CMOs and CIOs, an ‘odd couple’ in some respects, will be the catalysts in forging this union and enabling the types of personalized multichannel brand relationships that today’s customers demand.”

IBM’s study also found that marketers are now planning to go beyond couponing and deliver mobile advertising that reaches customers on their smartphones and tablets, since mobile marketing has taken off so much in the last few years. Thirty-four percent of respondents said that they plan to deliver mobile ads in less than 12 months, the highest rate of adoption for a new marketing tactic in IBM’s five-year history of conducting the study. Additionally, 46 percent of marketers said they are currently using mobile Web sites and 45 percent are using mobile applications, up from 40 percent and 44 percent since last year, respectively.

“While the mobile channel is thriving, marketers lack this same clear consensus on how to best utilize social media which will result in ongoing experimentation with this channel,” IBM said. “”For example, when looking toward the remainder of the year, 26 percent intend to launch applications on third-party social network sites, 24 percent plan to incorporate user-generated content into their social media efforts and 23 percent are looking to launch social media ads or share links in E-mail and Web offers.”

Other findings of the survey included:
• While 48 percent of respondents believe that improved technology infrastructure or software will enable them to do more, nearly 60 percent indicated that lack of IT alignment and integration are significant barriers to the adoption of technology.
• While 71 percent believe integration across owned, earned and paid channels is important, only 29 percent are effectively integrating these different channels. Fifty-nine percent said that existing systems are too disparate to integrate into these channels.
• Forty-one percent of marketers said keeping pace with the growth of social media and mobile devices will be the biggest challenge over the next three to five years.

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