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Marketing State of Play 2021: An Australian Study

Whilst there are many global reports that provide insight into the changing face of marketing teams, there are very few that look deeply at what is occurring within the Australian context. In April 2021, Arktic Fox in partnership with Michael Page launched the Marketing State of Play report to delve into the issues that are facing marketing teams at a local level. The study which was undertaken across January – March surveyed over 230 senior digital and marketing leaders and sought to better understand;

· Challenges facing marketing leaders today

· Key skill gaps and priority areas to build capabilities

· How teams are improving performance and efficiency

· Budgeting approaches and budget impacts from COVID

· MarTech challenges, investment levels and priority focus areas

· Data & analytics priorities and much more.

So what were some of the key findings of the study?

For those who don’t have time to read the full report – we have compiled an executive summary to outline some of the key findings as well as an infographic.

Marketing State of Play 2021 - highlights

Key challenges facing marketing leaders

Although marketers are met with a myriad of challenges, when we asked our respondents which were the biggest they faced, 43% said balancing short & long term priorities and 38% said additional investment in marketing budget and resources. As marketing teams are increasingly expected to do more with less- whilst also simultaneously driving the strategic agenda in areas like digital transformation, customer centricity and others its easy to see why so many marketing leaders and teams feel overwhelmed in this rapidly changing market.

Key skills and knowledge gaps

Major shifts occurring within the marketing industry are challenging marketers to consider if they have the right skills and knowledge for marketing to play its role and drive the growth agenda. Nearly half of all respondents cited data and analytics as one of their top 3 knowledge gaps, followed by 37% who cited reporting and measuring outcomes. The survey demonstrates that data literacy is one of the single biggest gaps challenging marketing teams. In order to address data literacy, responsibility needs to extend beyond the role of the analyst and become everyone’s responsibility.

MarTech headaches

MarTech has been heralded as an industry game charger but many marketers are still challenged by how to embed, scale and derive return from platforms. The research found 41% of marketing leaders cited implementing and embedding the platform as their key challenge. Whilst 33% were challenged by their ability to demonstrate a return on investment.

The budget conundrum

Four in five marketers expressed that their budgets have either been maintained at current levels or have reduced over the last 12 months. Given the increasing number of strategic priorities, marketing teams are grappling with, this is an unfortunate reality. Nonetheless, this drives marketing teams to think different and focus on how to drive better performance and efficiency.

Driving efficiency and performance

When it comes to improving efficiency and performance nearly seven in 10 marketers revealed better measurement as one of their key priorities. However it was also interesting to note more than one in five are turning to forms of media auditing to drive efficiency and performance. A lack of trust and transparency and the black box of programmatic trading are just some of the many factors driving marketers to look more closely at their media investment and performance.

Data & analytics priorities

With data literacy a key issue for marketing teams, three in four marketing leaders have emphasised the importance of embedding a data driven approach as a key priority over the next 12-18 months, demonstrating that data-driven marketing is high on the agenda for many. On the other hand, fewer leaders cited first party data capture and improving compliance with data privacy as their key priority. This potentially suggests marketers are unaware of the importance of first party data in the wake of continued Google and Apple changes and aren’t potentially playing the role they need to be in the privacy space, as regulation rapidly evolves.

For a full copy of the Marketing State of Play 2021 report, click here


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