In December 2019, Bynder commissioned independent research firm Survata, to conduct an anonymous survey of over 1000 marketing and branding professionals at organizations in the US and UK. The goal of the survey was to assess how marketing automation and technology contributes to improved brand awareness and perception. The survey also asked marketers to name their key paint points and planned investments around the issue of branding and martech.
Bynder is a digital asset management (DAM) platform serving mid-market and large organizations with clients that include well-known brands like Spotify, Canon, Five Guys, and Puma.
Respondent demographics were mixed. Companies ranged in size from 200 to over 10,000 employees and encompassed a variety of industries including technology, healthcare, consumer, industrial, and financial services. About 31% of respondents worked for B2B organizations while just under 55% were from B2C Companies.Demographic breakdown of Bynder survey respondents
The marketers who were surveyed answered the question, “Can branding be automated?” with a resounding no. Specifically, when respondents were asked, “Do you think AI & automation will negatively impact your branding efforts in 2020?” 21% said no, because branding can’t be automated.
Another 22% felt automation would produce less brand differentiation, 20% felt automation would negatively impact their branding efforts by eliminating jobs, and 13% felt it would diminish creativity.
Just 24% of respondents felt that AI & automation would positively impact branding.
Although automation is primarily seen as negative when it relates to the overall umbrella concept of “branding,” it was viewed in a much more positive light when applied to content development.
When marketers were asked about the best use of automation for marketing and branding purposes, the top response was, “creating content more efficiently and faster,” followed by “enabling data-driven creative decision-making” and “enabling better personalization.”
Some other interesting statistics about content creation included the following:
Respondents listed the top motivation for investing in new technologies as user experience (UX), with 29% of respondents listing this as the number one brand differentiator. UX trumped brand authenticity and superior product innovation, as shown in the below chart.
With user experience listed as the top brand differentiator among those surveyed, it’s no surprise that 34% of respondents indicated they plan to improve/optimize user experience in 2020.
This was followed by 21% of respondents who plan to increase their branded content efforts. Other means of brand differentiation included: increasing research and testing efforts (18%), activating brand advocates (15%), and investing in machine learning, AI, and technology-driven innovation (12%).
Nearly 60% of respondents indicated that security and regulation are preventing their brand and marketing efforts from reaching their potential impact and audiences.
Fully 68% of respondents indicated they plan to increase the number of martech providers their brand uses, with just under 10% indicating they plan to decrease the number. The growing ubiquity of marketing technology presents some challenges to brands, the biggest one being a skills gap in the marketing team.
Per the Bynder report, “As marketing becomes more tech-oriented, the most frequently cited challenge was “skill gaps in the marketing team” that could enable organizations to effectively make use of their tech stack—with chatbots seen as the most overhyped technology of today.”
Other martech obstacles faced by brands are data overload, option overload, lack of integrations, difficulty in assessing ROI and low user adoption.
Clearly, some technologies are more valued than others. About 27% and 23% of respondents, respectively, indicated that chatbots and AI are overhyped.
There is confusion around who should be responsible for implementing new martech tools, with 31% of respondents indicating this should fall within the purview of the marketing team, 30% indicating it should be IT’s job, and 26% indicating it should be a collaborative effort between the martech service provider and the brand.
Just under 43% of respondents indicated that their brand’s biggest concern for 2020 was growing brand awareness. This was nearly twice as many responses as the second top concern, measuring marketing value (24%).
Customers were listed as the group that matters most to brand perception, with 40% of respondents listing this group followed by marketing and executive leadership.
This begs the question, which channels have the greatest impact on brand perception? The answer, overwhelmingly, was social media, with 39% of respondents listing this as their top branding channel, followed by influencers and analysts and peer-to-peer review sites.
The 2020 State of Branding Report can be viewed or downloaded from Bynder’s website and contains a more complete list of statistics and charts.
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