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Automation, content marketing, and video key focus areas for Indian marketers in 2018: LinkedIn survey

MUMBAI: Marketing automation, content and email marketing, video content and influencer marketing emerged as top areas of investment for Indian marketers, according to a LinkedIn report titled ‘Marketing Team of Tomorrow’.

The report further stated that Indian marketers will focus on team growth and increase their marketing budgets. 97% Indian marketers plan to expand their teams in 2018, higher than the average of 72% among all marketers surveyed. Moreover, 74% Indian marketers plan to increase their budget for 2018, much higher than marketers in Australia (19%), Singapore (25%) and Hong Kong (33%).

LinkedIn surveyed marketing professionals across Australia, India, Singapore, and Hong Kong between September and October 2017. The surveyed professionals included a mix of in-house marketers and agency professionals.

Customer acquisition (92%) and retention (83%) were seen as the key areas of focus with regards to business outcomes. Increasing brand awareness (56%), improving quality of leads (49%) and customer loyalty (56%) being the most important aspects under these, for India, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Along with team growth, marketers are increasingly looking for candidates soft skills and cognitive abilities in 2018.

Indian marketers rank cognitive skills (88%) such as problem-solving, critical thinking and strategy, and account management (89%) skills such as communication, relationship building, and time management, as the top skills they desire from new hires

Delivering personalised content will be a key focus for APAC marketers in 2018, with India’s focus spread across a particularly diverse range of digital marketing trends. Personalised marketing (65%), real-time marketing (60%), big data analytics (60%), and content marketing (58%) were found to be the top three digital marketing trends for Indian marketers in 2018. Moreover, 63% believe technology will help deliver more personalized marketing experiences for the customer

The report also noted that technology to underpin marketing activities in the near future. Data Analytics (94%), machine learning (91%) and programmatic ad-buying (90%) are the top three technologies, marketers plan to implement to support their marketing activities. Ninety-seven percent (97%) marketers believe technology will impact customer acquisition and 94% also see it affecting customer retention. Three in four Indian marketers feel very well prepared to deal with the impact of technology and 61% see it as an opportunity for the creation of new jobs and marketing roles.

Indian marketers are most likely to outsource technical aspects of marketing activities, the report stated. While strategy (72%), content generation (56%) and customer experience (64%) are likely to be in-house responsibilities for Indian marketers, digital (41%) and data analytics (50%) are likely to be outsourced. Among the countries surveyed, India shows the biggest trend in outsourcing digital (35%) and data analytics (34%) activities, followed by creative storytelling, content generation and customer experience at 31%.

“We’ve stepped out of a year where content marketing took centre stage, and Indian marketers got a flavour of what new-age marketing looks like, powered by data and presented in video. As we enter 2018, technology will underpin all marketing activities, and teams will focus on outsourcing technical expertise while retaining an in-house focus on improving customer experience. This year, Indian marketers will do away with ‘one size fits all’ and will deploy high-quality ‘branded content’ and thought leadership content to gain customer trust and loyalty,” said LinkedIn India director, marketing solutions Virginia Sharma.

The report also revealed that India has shown the highest growth in the planned marketing budget for the year compared to other markets, and key investment areas include content marketing, marketing automation, and video content.

The report captures the current state of marketing and the trends to follow in India and other Asia-Pacific countries. It assesses several variables that are likely to impact the annual marketing budgets this year, especially with reference to the adoption of marketing technology, key investment areas, new team structures, new skills, and the top trends that will drive digital marketing this year.