Digital Marketing Maturity & Business Performance in Europe

Digital Marketing Maturity is a measure of how well a company has embraced digital marketing as a strategy for achieving its business objectives. It takes into account various aspects such as the company’s digital capabilities, organizational structure, processes, and culture.

For CMOs and their digital marketing organizations, the changes of the past few years have come fast, and their full impact has yet to be felt. Two big shifts stand out. The pandemic compressed several years of digital market evolution into a few months as consumers raced online to do everything from purchasing daily necessities to seeking medical treatment. At the same time, the data stream provided by third-party cookies—one of the critical supports of precision digital marketing—began to dwindle as the industry and regulators reacted to growing concerns about privacy. Meanwhile, consumers’ expectations for more customized, even personalized, outreach and interaction continued to grow.

Many companies have responded to these sea changes with speed and agility. Others have been slower to react. The big difference is the extent to which each company has advanced its digital marketing maturity.  

ON24 – a leading digital engagement platform that drives pipeline and revenue growth, released the results of their latest survey, “The State of Digital Maturity in Europe: The Tools, Techniques, and Strategies Marketers Need to Drive Results.” Based on responses from over 800 marketing leaders across 12 countries in Europe, this survey examines digital maturity across marketing organizations and finds that the top-performing businesses are backed by a digitally mature marketing team.

Digital maturity differs somewhat across Europe. Despite European countries sharing much in common, many areas differ — from language and culture to business behaviors and law. Digital maturity is another area where differences are present. The survey reveals some differences in digital maturity levels between different regions in Europe. Southern Europe (Italy, Portugal and Spain) has both the highest level of respondents with an advanced maturity score and those who are novices.

The Benelux (Belgium and the Netherlands) region had no respondents who scored in the advanced range. These differences highlight the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to improving digital maturity. B2B marketers in every country will need to assess their own organization individually to determine which actions are necessary for performance.

Digital maturity & its co-relation with Business Success

Analysis of the data demonstrates that there is a strong link between digital maturity and business success. Of those respondents who exceeded their business goals by a significant margin, more than half (52%) also had the highest maturity level — compared to just 15% of novices. This suggests that B2B marketers who improve their level of digital marketing maturity can expect to see higher levels of performance.

The majority of European B2B marketers surveyed are adopting good practices with their marketing strategy. Close to nine in 10 (87%) have a strategy that is aligned with both marketing and sales goals, while one in five use engagement and performance data to revise their strategy throughout the year. A similar percentage (85%) also claims that goals are ‘always’ set for tactics or digital experiences.   

Similarly, results in the area of data and measurement are good. About two-thirds claim to centralize and standardize data from all systems and have a single customer view. Added to that, nearly seven in 10 claims that they either have “good” or “excellent” visibility into marketing’s contribution to the pipeline.  

Data and measurement

In any area of business, data is an essential component for measuring performance against the department and organizational goals. But for B2B marketers, data has another essential function in today’s digital buying environment. Data can be used to understand buyers and to determine the experience they should receive.

Approach to collecting marketing data

The importance of data is not lost on today’s B2B marketers. An overwhelming majority of survey respondents “strongly agree” (64%) or “somewhat agree” (31%) that businesses which have high-quality data achieve better results. And, for the most part, respondents are doing well in the area of data and measurement. Two-thirds (65%) centralise and standardise data from all their systems and have a single customer view. Only a scant few (2%) report that they don’t collect data or do so incidentally. Eight in 10 (81%) respondents are collecting engagement and action data from multiple touchpoints in order to understand their buyers. This is in line with global data from Salesforce that shows that in 2021 B2B marketers used an average of nine data sources to drive engagement, with this number expected to increase in 2022.

Marketers are putting data to good use. The majority (85%) say that data is used to inform content and overall themes. The largest share of those respondents says they also use data to inform how they drive interactivity and conversions (42%), while 23% say they use data to do all the above and to help improve their strategy.

All organisations have at least some difficulties with data. It’s natural for marketing data to decay over time, for buyers to add incorrect data, or for values to differ in different place. It is far better to be honest and cautious with your data, rather than making claims that are found not to be valid. Presenting wrong data without caveats can damage your credibility across the business, as well as leading to you overestimating the potential impact of your efforts. Remember, it’s far better to under promise and over deliver as opposed to the other way around.   

First-party data sources can generate 1.5 times the incremental revenue from a single ad placement, communication, or outreach, and double the improvement in cost efficiency over companies that have more limited data integration capabilities.

First-Party Data and its relation with Digital Marketing Maturity

The relationship between Digital Marketing Maturity and First-Party Data is crucial as a more mature digital marketing strategy will be better equipped to leverage first-party data effectively. For instance, a mature digital marketing strategy will have the necessary tools and processes in place to collect, organize, and analyze first-party data, allowing for more targeted and  personalized campaigns.

Additionally, a mature digital marketing strategy will be able to leverage first-party data across various channels, including email, social media, and website, to create a seamless customer experience. By leveraging first-party data effectively, a mature digital marketing strategy can increase customer engagement, loyalty, and ultimately drive revenue growth.

In conclusion, Digital Marketing Maturity and First-Party Data are closely intertwined, with a more mature digital marketing strategy being better equipped to leverage first-party data effectively. By focusing on both aspects, companies can create more effective and targeted marketing campaigns, resulting in increased customer engagement and revenue growth.

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