As marketers embrace the importance of digital media, they are increasing their focus and budgets on efforts to improve their web performance.

Even the most traditional marketers are seeing that broadcast and print media are not the best ways to reach consumers. As they come to accept this reality, marketers are shifting their budgets to digital and more specifically – email, user experience and search engine optimization. According to the CMO Council’s 2014 State of Marketing report, around 85 percent of marketers are dedicating more than 10 percent or more of their total budgets to digital outreach this year.

The report found companies are increasing their focus on search marketing, email campaigns and user experience optimization (website performance, design and development), in addition to mobile applications and lead management.

These results show marketers are wising up to changes taking place across the commercial landscape. Just a year ago, almost three-quarters of B2C marketers and 70 percent of B2B marketers told the CMI they were most confident in their ability to drive results from in-person events.

There’s nothing like face-to-face interactions and personal connections to spark interest and build trust, but the way people research purchases has changed. By the time most buyers engage with a salesperson, they’ve already performed some due diligence and have a pretty good idea about what they want to buy, which is why digital interaction is so important.

7.5 million searches happen every few seconds as people look for the best solutions to their problems online.  

  • Search marketing was already the way to get on consumers’ radars, but it’s simultaneously becoming more important and challenging. According to Google’s data, about 7.5 million searches happen every few seconds as people look for the best solutions to their problems online.  
  • Targeted email messages keep leads tuned in when they’re vetting their options and make it easy for them to return to a brand’s site for more information.
  • The user experience (UX) of a website is at the heart of consumers’ first impressions, and if the pages are hard to navigate or read, they might assume the business relationship will also be rocky.

Marketers may be getting smarter about their strategies, but they’re not necessarily becoming digital masters overnight. The CMO report said just about 6 percent would give themselves an A+ grade for their web results. As they play catch up, brands must pursue opportunities to improve their digital marketing from basic web design to personalized content that compels prospects to convert.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.