By Aimee Chanthadavong

The stereotype that the older generation knows nothing about new technology has been trumped by a recent Sitecore survey.

The Emerging Trends in Digital Marking research found senior marketers are those who are most confident in their digital marketing skills. In fact 27 per cent of those with 15 years or more in the field are feeling more equipped to know how their marketing budget will be spent in coming years whether that’s online or offline. This is in comparison to 13 per cent of marketers with less than five years of experience.

According to Jane Briggs, director of First Point Research and Consulting, the reason for this is perhaps a lot of the training in preparation for digital marketing has been concentrated at a senior level, with the assumption those who are younger would naturally understand digital, but that’s clearly not the case.

Despite the digital knowledge senior marketers hold, offline activity still accounts for 61 per cent of the marketing budget with a majority (82 per cent) of that spend with print, compared to 39 per cent of digital activities for Australian and New Zealand organisations.

Briggs believes offline marketing activities are “overrated” and the only reason why companies continue to spend there is because they aren’t confident enough about how they can measure the return on investment (ROI) on their digital spend.

And for those companies that are measuring their digital spend, the research revealed 73 per cent still use website traffic as a key measuring tool of success.

However, Sitecore Australia and New Zealand sales director Kyle McManus argues this is no longer sufficient particularly given the paradigm shift that is occurring in the relationships companies have with consumers.

“The problem and the opportunity are no longer just about a website,” he said.

“It has grown into so many channels now that marketing have to deal with. We hear the most standard being web and mobile but there are other areas such as email now that is an important part to communication.

“There are companies out there looking to personalise and provide content that is relevant as a means to communicate with their customers. So the channels that now exist have really grown and the problem for marketers is thinking about how they can update and keep all the information relevant. This is where content management has evolved to.”

While spending on offline marketing activities outstripped expenditure on digital marketing in 2013 the gap is set to noticeably narrow in 2014. The report showed more than seven in ten (73 per cent) marketers planning to increase their digital marketing budgets and one fifth (20 per cent) intending to maintain their current expenditure levels. Only one in fifty (2 per cent) marketers plan to decrease their online spend.

The way digital activities will be tracked will also change. Two in five marketers plan to increase their use of predictive analytics, content profiling and integration to the customer relationship management (CRM) system. Personalisation will also become more important, as will the development of mobile-adapted websites.

“The paradigm is about creating a totally different experience the business that the end consumer you’re engaged with,” McManus said.

“The idea of personalising and creating a much targeted experience based on who are you will be important… The expectation is more than just uploading a brochure or putting a site with information to let people meander through; it’s thinking about how do I create a site that has engagement so I’m not just flooding my customers with information that might not apply to them.”