Australian Marketers Benchmark Report debunks pessimistic outlook


An all-new benchmark report reveals Australian marketers have their sights set on an optimism short-term future, with current global affairs not seen as a hindrance to budgets, objectives, or priorities.

Despite news headlines being dominated by the war in Ukraine, interest rate hikes, threats of inflation, shaky financial markets and the lingering effects of COVID-19, 85% of marketers in Australia report being optimistic about the next six months.

The product of a joint initiative from Sesimi, an Australian brand management software provider, and digital marketing data firm Sonar, this important piece of local research focuses purely on the Australian marketing landscape. The Report surveyed household name Australian companies from a range of industry sectors including automotive, retail, banking and finance, health and entertainment. The report provides a valuable local perspective amongst a sea of ​​marketing reports which originate from overseas.

Together, respondents represented 13 industries and a wide range of organization sizes. Entries cut across all experience responding levels of the Marketing function with an even split between experienced roles and more junior roles (45%/55% respectively).

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The Report also sheds light on the priorities facing marketers over the coming year, with Customer acquisition and retention leading the way. “This no doubt accounts for why CRM and Marketing Automation are revealed as major investment priorities for marketers in the coming 12-18 months,” said Rene Slota, Sesimi CMO.

Despite the current ‘doom and gloom’ of shaky financial markets, the war in Ukraine, and a lingering threat of COVID, the overall sentiment of marketers is 85% positive.

What’s driving the optimism? A few things. Growth in brand awareness (both in Australia and as an Australian gin brand globally), some exciting new releases in the bag, plus we hope to meet many more people with our recently opened distillery expansion in the Yarra Valley,” said Bianca Fioritti from Four Pillars Gin, a participant who responded in the surveys used in the report.

Key objectives and challenges faced by marketers

Customer acquisition and retention are key objectives for marketers over the next year.

New customers, retaining customers and driving revenue growth were ranked as either a ‘High Priority’ or a ‘Critical Priority’ by over 70% of respondents. Marketing efficiency and brand trailed significantly. New product launches was at the bottom of the list with 10% saying it was ‘not a priority’.

The key opportunities marketers were looking to take advantage of in the next 6 months were more efficient ways to market to their customers by leveraging first party data, customer data platforms (CDPs), as well as automation.

Additionally, there seems to be a push around the ‘sustainable agenda’ which included wide-ranging initiatives from messaging to product, distribution, and even upholding particular standards across the value chain.

62% of respondents highlighted the skillsets in their marketing team and resourcing as a ‘challenge’ or ‘significant challenge’. This is consistent with research by RMIT which found 26% of their employees’ digital literacy skills are out of date.

Marketing budgets and spend

Nearly 80% of marketers report that their marketing budgets remain the same or are increasing over the next 12 months. This could be one reason that marketers are overwhelmingly optimistic about the next year. This contrasts with the last two years, where market forces and the lingering impact of the pandemic significantly impacted marketing budgets.

Digital marketing continues to dominate spend in Australia. Nearly 40% of marketers reported that they will spend more than half of their budget on digital marketing. Almost all marketers are spending a sizeable portion of their budget on digital with only 5% saying they will spend less than 10%.

Even though the customer has always been front and center for Marketers, the pivot to customer experience or CX is still a work in progress, with 50% of respondent reporting 50% or less adoption of customer experience optimization.

Martech and content only take a small portion of budget, even though they are seen as growth areas. Both martech and content/production are seen as key marketing priorities over the next 12 months.

Interestingly, this is not reflected in the budgets allocated to support these priorities. The majority of marketers are spending less than 20% in martech and for content/production. The old adage ‘80% media and 20% production’ looks to be swinging, with the report showing more than 37% of marketers spending over 20% of budget on content/production. This is consistent with the ever-growing ‘content beast’ created by an explosion of media channels over the last few years.

“The Report captures valuable feedback from Marketers across a spectrum of experience levels, industries and organizational size,” said Sonar MD, Scott Heron. “It provides clear analysis of where marketing budgets will be moving over the next 12 months and gives us some great insights into what kind of challenges marketers expect to be facing in the short to medium term.”

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