Business InnovationEmerging Tech

New Heidrick & Struggles and Digital Scientists Survey: Companies Falling Short in Digital

April 20, 2009

trade name logo of heidrick & struggles and digital scientistsCheck it out – we’ve been busy talking to CMO’s about digital marketing.  Let us know if you’d like to get the inside story.

CHICAGO, April 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Chief marketing officers across nearly all sectors believe their companies are under-delivering in the area of digital marketing, reveals a new survey of CMOs and other C-suite executives conducted by Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc. (NASDAQ: HSII) , a top executive search and leadership advisory firm, and Digital Scientists, Atlanta-based digital marketing experts.

Citing a disconnect between their own personal capabilities and how the companies they work for are performing in the digital marketing arena, nearly 75% of respondents describe themselves personally as “at the cutting edge” or “right where they should be,” while 60% believe that their companies are “behind the curve.”

“Companies realize that they’re in the midst of digital man-to-man combat to acquire consumer dollars, but they’re frustrated that they’re not very good at it,” says Lynne Seid, Partner at Heidrick & Struggles’ Global Marketing Officers Practice.

“In this economy, talent can see this need as a great opportunity, and indeed one of the few places where demand is still truly strong,” she says.

One of the first surveys of C-suite marketing executives conducted since the financial crisis began last fall, “The Digital Marketing Standard: Executive Perspectives on Digital Marketing” was developed by Heidrick & Struggles and Digital Scientists to determine current marketing objectives and the role of digital marketing in achieving these objectives. The firms interviewed more than 100 senior executives with decision-making or budgetary authority over their companies’ marketing spending.

“CMOs confront intense pressure to deliver financial results,” says Tom Klein, managing partner and chief scientist of Digital Scientists. “With digital marketing, they finally have the tools to answer the oldest question in marketing – what’s working and what’s not. However, they don’t have the internal digital marketing skill sets they need to get the job done.”

The survey reveals the high value that marketers place on digital marketing proficiency as a way to acquire new customers. New customer acquisition topped respondents’ lists as a key strategic priority for their companies, while brand-building and geographic expansion of their markets were seen as much less important.

Other key findings include:

Proficiency in digital marketing is highly valued, but under-delivered

Almost half the respondents (49%) agreed that it is important for the CMO to be proficient in digital marketing, but only 13% said that their companies had developed the internal talent required to develop and implement growth-generating digital marketing programs.

Over-reliance on outside agencies to meet talent gap

To fill the capability gaps in digital talent within their organizations, 45% felt that they would need to turn to external partners and agencies.

Key growth tactics: high points for analytics and SEO, low points for new media advertising

The top 4 marketing tactics for growth were ROMI analysis, website activity analysis, CRM tools, and SEO, while the bottom of the list included video and mobile ads and contests/promotions.

Few satisfied with their company’s marketing effectiveness

Only 12% said their company was improving the consistency of its marketing and sales communications, and less than a quarter are very satisfied with the how their company is conducting ROMI, website activity analysis, CRM, and SEO.

Need more help from IT

Sixty percent of respondents reported that the marketing department has primary responsibility for the all-important analytics, but they want IT to share this load: 44% of respondents want IT to take responsibility for analytics.

Few want to focus on global growth right now

With problems at home consuming the attention of the C-suite, expansion into new geographies ranked dead last among all specific strategies cited in the survey, and was seen as very important by only 13% of respondents.

About Heidrick & Struggles

Founded in 1953, Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc. (NASDAQ: HSII) is recognized as one of the world’s leading executive search firms. With more than 60 offices in the principal cities of 33 countries, it helps its clients to address strategic issues that have human capital solutions in times of growth, turnaround, acquisition, integration, expansion into new markets, and economic flux.

With its executive search, leadership services, and interim management capabilities, Heidrick & Struggles can seamlessly integrate a customized approach to meeting the diverse leadership challenges facing its client organizations. The organization prides itself on its relationships with, and immediate access to, some of the world’s most talented people.

About Digital Scientists

Digital Scientists is a digital marketing firm that helps clients use new technologies to grow sales, share, and profits. The company provides digital marketing expertise and features a metrics-oriented approach, no-nonsense fees, and a broad client roster (ranging from Fortune 50 to local merchants). The company was founded by Tom Klein, chief scientist and co-author of Enterprise Marketing Management: The New Science of Marketing. You can learn more about the company and its approach to digital marketing at