Marketers Cite Personalization as Most Important to Marketing in Coming Years

Execs Prep for Change in the Marketing Suite

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When asked to prioritize one capability that will be most important to marketing in the future, personalization topped marketers' lists, according to a new study from Adobe.

The study, "Digital Roadblock: Marketers Struggle to Reinvent Themselves" highlights the issues facing marketers at a time when 64% expect their role will change in the next year and 81% anticipate it will change in the next three years.

Adobe CMO Ann Lewnes expressed surprise that personalization trumped hot areas like mobile, big data, social and real-time marketing.

Adobe CMO Ann Lewnes
Adobe CMO Ann Lewnes

"Mobile is so big -- and, consequently, scary -- that people just don't know where to start, so they're somewhat paralyzed," Ms. Lewnes said. "While complex, personalization seems more finite to me. Marketers understand the concept of segmentation and personalization is really modern-day segmentation. There are tools for it. And they know it works."

Even as one-third of marketers said personalization will be key going forward, 61% of marketers believe social media will be the most critical marketing vehicle to focus on a year from now. And just over half of marketers cited mobile.

"Marketers have a lot of big, thorny issues to deal with. While personalization ranked as their most important priority, marketers know that mobile is a huge focus area too," Ms. Lewnes added. "Mobile is where the eyeballs and dollars are moving. So marketers are motivated to crack the mobile code. The tools -- adaptive design, publishing, analytics -- now exist. So there are no more excuses."

To that end, more than one-third of marketers said investing in mobile marketers would be essential in the coming year. Marketers will also be looking to hire digital/social marketers, data analysts and creatives.

Those types of hires could help marketers ready themselves for change and push companies to embrace new technologies. Sixty-five percent of marketers said they are more comfortable adopting new technologies once they become mainstream, though 45% said they'd like to take more risks. For now, nearly half of marketers say they are trusting their gut to guide marketing investments.

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