Consumer goods businesses are far from harnessing the true potential of digital technology for marketing purposes, according to new research.

Conducted in partnership with IT services provider Wipro Limited, Forbes’ survey of executives in the US discovered that 65% admit their business could be taking better advantage of new solutions for enhancing their promotional activity.

In an extension of this, 61% believe that marketing data could aid progress in areas such as product development and logistics, with subsequent improvements based on what their customers desire.

Though with just 20% of executives describing themselves as ‘transformative’, a supposed reflection of their ability to embrace new concepts, whether or not this information will ever get used remains to be seen.

Marketing in isolation

Part of the issue appears to be stemming from a disconnect between marketing and the retailer’s core business model. For instance, 37% of the executives answering to Forbes regarded digital marketing as a separate function, thus limiting its potential involvement in other aspects of the business.   

E-commerce was labelled as a standalone entity by 39% of the group, an acceptable position considering its importance. However, many brands have realised that by aligning marketing data with their core operation, customers are far more likely to be interested in what they have to offer.

One way of solving the conundrum would be to outsource certain duties with the aim of freeing up valuable time and resources. The 59% of executives who were intrigued by the idea of outsourcing more of their front-end marketing and back-end tasks proved this could work, meaning a greater sense of integration may not be far away.     

List of priorities

There may be more pressing tasks on the agenda, though, as highlighted by the 92% of transformative executives who intended to focus more on optimising their customer experience in the coming months.

In telling evidence of their different approaches, 78% of non-transformative individuals intended to concentrate on the same.  

Developing an integrated media strategy was touted as another point of focus, by 88% of transformative execs and 63% of the non-transformative group, with optimising the mix of traditional vs digital marketing spend returning a slightly tighter gap (85% vs. 76%).