If you're committed to digital marketing - as well you should be - then Adobe's got some bad news for you this week.
It seems that digital marketing is in fact "invasive and annoying" according to half of the consumers that the firm spoke to for a global study.
Hold hard - this is Adobe, right? The company that's currently marketing the hell out of the notion that it's providing the marketing cloud - which dovetails neatly into digital thinking, right?
Indeed it is - and the point of this study is to highlight
- just how out of date many marketing strategies actually are today
- how unappealing most approaches to digital marketing seem to be.
- how Adobe's going to put the world to rights on both those fronts.
So let's take a closer look at the conclusions.
The Click Here: The State of Online Advertising study polled both consumers and marketers in seven countries across the US, Asia Pacific and Europe to probe the effectiveness of online marketing.
Overall, marketers are more keen on digital advertising than the target audience. Only 52% of consumers rate it for trust and effectiveness, compared with 68% of marketers.
There are - inevitably - significant differences in attitude depending on which country you come from.
For example, 45% of US marketers polled reckon that marketing helps inform consumers about brands, products and services, an opinion shared by only 28% of their European counterparts and 25% of peers in Asia-Pacific.
Between 46% and 53% of US consumers 'like' brands they regularly buy or that have promotions, whereas Europeans are more driven to 'like' by aspirations and 40% by brand personality,.
And if you're a US firm and you still think Europe can be dealt with as a single entity, not that digital advertising is better liked in the UK than in France and Germany.
And so it goes on.
- In the UK, 39% prefer print magazines, 23% per cent prefer TV ads, while 12% prefer websites.
- In France, the equivalent numbers are 31% for print magazines, 23% for TV ads and - bless - 24% for billboards.
- In Germany, print magazines pick up 28% of vote, 23% prefer billboards and 21% like window displays.
(If you've ever seen the Eurovision Song Contest, you'll be used to such national idiosyncrasies; if you have't seen the Eurovision Song Contest, it's a pan-European annual song contest designed to celebrate the unity of the European nations, but which simply exposes every national prejudice you ever suspected existed between countries. The UK doesn't take it seriously; everyone else does.)
Some other stats:
- Over half of US respondents classed marketing as "a bunch of B.S.".
- Globally 32% of respondents think online advertising isn't effective.
- Marketers in the US and Europe were the most dismissive of online advertising - 30% and 38% respectively.
- 54% of US marketers believe Web banner ads don't work at all, while 47% of Europeans and 41% of those in Asia Pacific are of the same mind.
- 30% of US consumers perceive online advertising as less effective compared with offline.
- Consumer and marketing respondents globally believe that banner ads do not work (49% consumers; 36% marketers).
The one thing that we do all agree on though is that we still think there's more credibility in print and television advertising - and that's true on both the buy and the sell side.
Globally, 94% of consumers voted for traditional media compared with 91% of marketers.
Still there are some regional differentiators. Some 42% of respondents in Asia-Pacific were most likely to relate to TV and print ads, followed by 36% in Europe and 31% in the U.S.
Ann Lewnes, chief marketing officer, Adobe, reckons that opportunities are being missed:
"Digital marketing has created a remarkable opportunity, but it comes with higher expectations from consumers. They expect a story tailored specially for them, a level of trust and transparency with the brands they do business with and, most importantly, a great experience. Brands delivering anything less will ultimately be ignored.
"These survey results demonstrate that we aren't quite delivering on digital marketing's full potential yet. We now have the technology and know-how to target relevant and personalized marketing messaging and media to our customers. Shame on us, if we don't deliver on that."
So what is needed to make online advertising and marketing more effective? Well, as everyone should realise by now, having some decent content is the first priority -globally 74% of respondents want ads to tell a story. (US 73%, Europe 70%, Asia Pacific 77%).
And they want a laugh - 92% of consumers said funny ads are more effective than ‘sexy’ ones.
So David Beckham in his underwear is all good and well, but we'd prefer him to be cracking a joke or two.
Another day, another study homing in on the shortcomings of current approaches to digital marketing. Given Adobe's whole-hearted commitment to its version of the marketing cloud - as opposed to the Salesforce.com one or the Marketo one or the Infor one etc etc - it's a useful piece of collateral to highlight the need for a change of thinking.
The quirks of international comparison are interesting in their own right - German window displays?!? - but of particular note perhaps is the reminder again that old habits die hard among consumers. TV advertising still rules OK, ok?
Clearly the potential is there for that to change. The question is two-fold. How quickly? And driven by whose technology?
Graphics sourced from Adobe Systems.
David Beckham's underwear - H&M