Nine out of 10 brands struggle with emerging tech

Research highlights how AI-based search technology is impacting brand strategies and why so many businesses are falling behind.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

Emerging technologies are forcing marketers across industries to change their strategies. However, most have not successfully made this leap. According to a recent report, 95 percent said that their companies are experiencing marketing challenges with technology.

Also: One in three businesses are unsure about their 2019 online strategy

New York-based digital knowledge management platform Yext recently announced the results of its Brand Control in the Age of AI report. In conjunction with research group Vanson Bourne, it surveyed 400 marketing decision-makers from organizations across the US.

It wanted to find out how emerging technologies are changing the way that people interact with brands. The research shows that brands are not evolving quickly enough for this new reality.

Fewer than one in 10 (8 percent) of marketers believe their organization's brand management strategy is completely effective. Respondents on average believe that only one-third (35 percent) of their brand information in the digital ecosystem is up-to-date.

The average annual marketing budget of brands surveyed is 16.63 percent of global annual revenue, yet brands are not taking advantage of technology-based innovations.  New advancements in AI-based search, including voice search, are fundamentally changing the way people interact with brands.

There are challenges for brands. Less than three out of 10  (29 percent) of respondents say that they do not have enough visibility into how they compare to their competition. A similar number (28 percent) of respondents report that brands are not visible enough in search engines.

Around one in 20 (6 percent) believe their marketing strategy to be comprehensive with no flaws to be addressed. The majority (81.3 percent of respondents) believed their strategy to be very thorough, or quite thorough with a few flaws to be addressed.

Almost half (43.6 percent) of respondents  want to improve their understanding of the voice of their customers, and 35.4 percent want to improve perception of their brand.

Many of these flaws stem from the data available across the digital ecosystem. On average, brands indicated that only one-third (35 percent) of information available about their brand in the digital ecosystem is up to date.

Furthermore, brands think that only 30 percent of consumer engagement data from off-website sources is up to date, on average.

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This explains why almost two out of three (63 percent) of respondents report that there are quite a lot of improvements, or huge improvements required in the area of consumer engagement data monitoring from off-website sources in their organization.

Only 12 percent of organizations subscribe to a third-party that has integrations with local directories and mapping services to help manage this brand information.

There are several benefits of adapting to these new technologies. Two out of three (63 percent) believe that improving their marketing strategies will increase sales and revenue.

Three out of five (60 percent) believe it will increase customer loyalty and 60 percent believe it will increase customer satisfaction.

Marc Ferrentino, Chief Strategy Officer of Yext said: 

"This research helps us see where brands are excelling and where they're struggling to catch up. What we're seeing is that many businesses have a long way to go in providing perfect information and a great customer experience everywhere.

In fact, we found that brands believe only 35 percent of the information about them available online is correct, on average. At the same time, brands everywhere are recognizing that taking control has serious revenue implications."

Modernizing brand strategies for the AI era will lead to more revenue. The sales and marketing process has moved away from the traditional website towards other forms of properties such as third-party publishers and local landing pages as the key to driving sales.

Search engines, maps, voice search, and AI chat interfaces have changed how consumers are interacting with brands. Brands have work to do when it comes to managing brand information across the digital ecosystem -- or they will be left behind.

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