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Poll Shows Marketers Struggling to Meet Leadership Expectations on E-Commerce

  • Survey of marketing professionals finds the majority of them expect digital commerce to be their lead sales channel within the next two years
  • Despite meeting or exceeding targets in most cases, marketers often find themselves falling behind leadership’s competitive goals
  • Tips on developing digital commerce at your own company

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the growth of e-commerce, causing companies to ramp up their investments in this service or scramble to develop them if their digital sales were lacking. A recent survey from the technology research and consulting company Gartner Inc. finds that most marketing professionals expect digital commerce to take a more prominent role in their sales strategy, but also that it was a challenge to meet their company’s e-commerce goals.

The survey polled 400 marketing leaders in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom in August and September. Eighty-six percent said they believe digital marketing will become their company’s most important sales channel within the next two years.

However, respondents also said they only exceeded their senior leaders’ expectations of outperforming their peers in e-commerce revenue and profits 27 percent of the time despite meeting or exceeding revenue targets 79 percent of the time. Only 11 percent said they exceeded both their targets and leadership expectations.

“This suggests that some senior leaders may feel that this growth and performance is a given based on the customer shift to digital commerce purchase behaviors,” said Ant Duffin, senior director analyst with the Gartner Marketing practice. “Moving forward, the challenge for marketing leaders responsible for digital commerce is that senior leaders will expect similar or more digital commerce value in 2022 and beyond.”

Gartner offered advice on how businesses can prepare for further growth in e-commerce, including establishing a clear roadmap to reach digital commerce maturity, creating both short-term and long-term goals, and addressing talent needs.

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