Australian marketers need to stop playing it safe and embrace a constant state of change.

That’s the view of Prue Cox, LinkedIn’s new director of marketing solutions.

“Australian marketers are playing it safe. When it comes to leveraging new technologies they are significantly behind their APAC counterparts,” Cox told Which-50.

Only a third of Aussie marketers said they are planning to use AI (34 per cent), blockchain (29 per cent) and augmented reality (34 per cent) to support their marketing activities this year.

That’s notably fewer than the results from the other markets including in the study. Two thirds of APAC marketers said they were looking at AI (64 per cent), blockchain (61 per cent) and augmented reality (64 per cent).

The results are based on a survey of marketing professionals across Australia, India, Singapore and Hong Kong, including 217 Aussie marketers.

According to the survey, the majority of Australian marketers said data analytics (67 per cent), marketing automation (62 per cent) and programmatic buying (49 per cent) are the key areas they plan to focus on this year to support their marketing activities.

Which seems sensible enough to us given the hype surrounding AI and blockchain.

The point Cox made to Which-50 is marketers now need to embrace the concept of a  “permanent beta” which involves a constant state of experimentation with new technology.

“Australian marketers need to be focusing on their capabilities and constantly learning,” she said.

“They need to start thinking about future-proofing and really lean to the opportunities that the new technologies can bring.”

Discussing blockchain, Lenovo’s APAC head of digital and social, Danielle Uskovic, has similar advice for marketers:

“My advice to my marketing colleagues is to stay educated on the developments the industry is making, and where appropriate, trial systems in a controlled environment,” Uskovic wrote recently.

“It’s the difference between staying at the bleeding edge, seeking to uncover value, where value exists, or being left behind by the opportunities blockchain can bring to both marketing and your entire organisation.”

It’s complex time for marketers, with marketing leaders telling Which-50 more has changed in the last five years than the previous 20 years. In the words of one marketer, “We are experiencing the fastest rate of change we have ever seen, but it might be the slowest rate of change we will ever see again.”

Desired skills

According to LinkedIn’s survey, there’s a gap between desired business outcomes and investment in the innovative technologies and skills that will achieve these outcomes.

Australian marketers rate their teams higher on cognitive skills (84 per cent) and account management (84 per cent), and see themselves as being less capable in creative (65 per cent) and technical aspects (55 per cent) of the role.

The majority of marketers in Australia said they would like to hire people with cognitive skills (73 per cent) and relationship management (77 per cent) skills, compared to technical (54 per cent) and creative skills (39 per cent).

By prioritising softer skills like strategy and account management above skills like data analytics and coding, marketers risk outsourcing technical capabilities they’ll need in the future Cox said.

“While there is an opportunity to be working with their agency partners and vendors on these technical capabilities, marketers need to be thinking about future-proofing and better understanding the technical capabilities to drive some of those business priorities,” she said.

LinkedIn 218 Marketing Trends Report

 

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