What do consumer goods companies need to do?

A just released study by Forbes Insights suggests that companies not using digital technologies to bolster marketing efforts will lag behind competitors.

“The Race Is On: Keeping Pace with Consumer Goods Leaders in Digital Marketing and Technology” surveyed 125 C-level executives from large, global consumer goods companies in the U.S., Europe, and Asia Pacific. In addition, Forbes Insights conducted one-on-one interviews with execs to further elucidate the context of their answers.

The companies themselves know the score. The study revealed that 65 percent of executives admitted that their companies need to do more to harness digital technology to improve marketing effectiveness. That pairs with a whopping 61 percent who said their companies should do more with data to improve effectiveness in complementary areas such as product development and logistics.

“This study shows that many companies still have a long way to go to realize the full potential of digital marketing,” says Bruce Rogers, Chief Insights Officer and head of the CMO Practice for Forbes Media. “A trailblazing group of transformative companies is leading the way and achieving closer alignment between marketing and other departments. Others need to forge ahead or risk falling behind.”

Wipro Limited VP and Global Head for Consumer Goods Hiral Chandrana agreed.

“Executives today face a bewildering array of digital marketing technologies,” noted Chandrana. “It not only requires integrated website, mobile and social media strategies alongside well-conceived and executed data privacy and security strategies but also concepts such as omni-channel and analytics which add to the complexity. But at the same time, the collective capabilities of these technologies to grow and optimize sales and marketing are too important to be ignored.”

Among the key findings, according to the Forbes story:

  • Forty-two percent of executives believe their current approach to digital marketing is too fragmented. The figure rose to 47 percent among firms with moe than $17 billion in sales.
  • Silos contribute to the challenge: Digital marketing is often organized as a separate function (37 percent), while e-commerce often operates as a separate business unit (39 percent).
  • Half of executives report that in one or more instances, their digital marketing fails to integrate with essential back-end processes.
  • Forty-three percent of executives think their IT departments are too busy to assist with digital marketing technology needs.