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Marketers increasing online investment but using old performance measures

SAN FRANCISCO - Marketers' budgets for online and web 2.0 initiatives in 2009 are almost 50% higher than their budgets for traditional media, but the majority of these marketers are continuing to use old online performance measures, according to research.

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The research by the CMO Council audited more than 650 marketers and found that just over 9% rate their e-metrics and measurement capabilities as excellent.

This is despite the majority of marketers continuing with old online measures like page views and registrations (64.6%), site traffic and volume (58.4%) and search prominence (45.2%).  

The CMO Council said just a small number are measuring customer engagements, such as translating online traction to the acquisition of new customers, tracking content consumption transactions or subscriptions, or measuring word-of-mouth advocacy.

Kevin Akeroyd, chief operating officer of the Jigsaw business community, said: "This year's survey demonstrates that marketers are continuing to struggle with applying business metrics to online media and digital marketing, with such limited measures as page views and site traffic sources dominating the mix." 

To sharpen their expertise in digital marketing competencies, the majority of marketers (63%) are opting to train existing staff rather than recruit new talent (28.6%).

CMO's research has also indicated a disconnect between management mandates for 2009 and marketing's limited plans to invest in automation, collaboration and process improvement. 

According to the CMO Council, senior management is commanding that marketing contribute to the bottom line by retaining or growing market share, lowering costs through greater go-to-market efficiencies and improving customer insight and retention. 

However, when it comes to investments in marketing automation; tactical capabilities and point solutions dominate. The top two target areas of investment for 2009 are email marketing (44.9%) and online surveys and research (33.2%).

Only 10.1% are investing in master data, 12.8% in marketing operational systems, and 9.3% in marketing resource or process management solutions.

CMO Council's Marketing Outlook report is available for download through the CMO Council.

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