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Arktic Fox releases its 2023 Digital & Marketing In Focus Study

Today marks the launch of our 2023 Digital & Marketing in focus study, in partnership with Six Degrees Executive. The report which is now in its third year (formerly known as the Marketing State of Play report), has been developed to shine a light on the marketing and digital industry down under. With 230 respondents from an array of industries and organisations of all sizes, the study looks to explore an array of topics including;
  • The priorities and challenges facing marketing, digital and eCommerce teams

  • Digital transformation and what is hindering progress

  • The growing skills gap within teams across Australia

  • A closer look at how brands are training their teams and what is holding teams back

  • A closer look at the preparedness of teams to adapt to privacy changes

  • The rising demand of CDPs and the challenges that this presents for teams

  • A spotlight on eCommerce – a special feature delving into an array of insights on eCommerce and much more

For those who want a 10-minute snapshot, we have pulled together this article to cover off the key highlights for the report.


Priorities: there are many, but growth

is on

everyone’s mind.


The growth agenda for the organisation is one of the top priorities of digital and marketing leaders, with 78% revealing this is a key priority for the next 12 – 18 months. Growth has moved to top the priority list since last year’s report, showing the impact of challenging economic conditions. Other key priorities of leaders included: developing their first-party data strategy (55%), and brand development & embedding brand purpose (54%).

As we have seen many organisations undergo rapid digitisation over the past few years, in this year’s study we sought to understand if digital transformation remains of key importance and the barriers impacting adoption.

Our 2023 study has painted a fairly consistent picture to prior years, with marketing, experience and digital leaders reinforcing that digital transformation remains high on the priority list to address over the next 12 – 18 months. In this year’s study, 43% of leaders suggested digital transformation is one of their top priorities. However, for organisations generating over $100m, the importance of digital transformation increases, with 55% of leaders suggesting it is one of their top priorities.


Time and resources are creating challenges for teams.

Balancing short and long-term priorities is the main challenge for two-thirds of respondents, demonstrating the balancing act leaders are facing. Unfortunately for market facing functions, like marketing and digital, leaders and their teams need to contend with ensuring short-term targets are being achieved whilst simultaneously transforming the business or delivering on strategic initiatives (like roll out of customer data strategy and better utilising first party data assets). This sometimes creates an unhealthy tension between the now and the next. Teams forego building for the future as they deal with the issues they need to resolve today - because they are more time sensitive.

In addition, some 60% of respondents struggle with resourcing and a further 54% are challenged by their ability to secure additional investment in budget and resources.

One of the common themes that has surfaced throughout the research is the skill and capability gaps within teams as it pertains to data and analytics. Nearly 1 in 2 leaders stated this was a skill gap within their function and 65% stated that data literacy was not strong within their department. I highlight this because it helps to contextualise the challenges within the findings and others. If leaders and their teams don’t have well developed skills in areas of data literacy, they are more likely to be challenged by their ability to drive effective performance and measurement (as we have seen in the study). The 4th biggest challenge teams face is in the area of measuring performance & return from investment of activities. And if they find this more difficult, it of course means that securing additional investment proves challenging – as leaders need to be able to ;

  • Demonstrate return and value from investment to articulate the value of additional expenditure.

  • Connect performance outcomes to the bottom line.

For larger organisations (those above $100m), these challenges all ring true, however finding and attracting talent seems to be a more prominent issue for those within larger organisations, with 35% of leaders stating this was a key challenge.


Executive leaders are creating difficulties for leaders driving transformation.