Aussie marketers are falling behind their APAC counterparts in adopting new tech

Prue Cox, LinkedIn Australia and New Zealand's director of marketing solutions, reveals how the Aussie industry might lack the confidence to adopt the marketing strategies of the future.

Disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are advancing at an unforeseen rate, with the top engineers globally working frantically to push these technologies further by the day.

There’s no doubt that these emerging technologies will have a critical impact on how marketers create and deliver compelling experiences for customers. AI driven technologies such as chatbots are increasingly being embraced by businesses as a method of innovating the customer experience.

NAB’s digital virtual banker is a perfect example of how a business has successfully leveraged technology to improve their customers’ experiences and overall business outcomes.

The virtual assistant’s artificial intelligence is derived from thousands of real-life customer enquiries and there are more than 13,000 variants of the 200 questions the virtual banker can answer.

Given the level of discussion in this space, and as a nation of forward thinkers and fast-adopters of tech, one would assume that more Australian marketers would be wholly focused on how they should best invest in advancing marketing technologies, and how it will affect their teams.

However, LinkedIn’s recent Marketing Team of Tomorrow research found that this is not the case, with only a third of Australian marketers currently considering investments in AI, blockchain and augmented reality. When we compare our home-grown marketers with our APAC counterparts, we also see Australia lagging behind in optimism towards, and intention to, invest in these technologies.

Interestingly, it is India leading the charge when it comes to technologies such as machine learning, virtual reality, programmatic ad buying and wearables, with adoption rates almost double that of Australia. So why aren’t Australian marketers stepping up to the plate?

It seems that Australian marketers are currently playing it safe, focusing on ‘bread-and-butter’ marketing rather than emerging tech. As a result, of all regions surveyed, Australian marketers feel their teams are least prepared for the impact of innovative technologies on the marketing industry, with almost a third reporting concerns for the future, significantly higher than that of other countries.

This could stem from a lack of confidence in the strength of technical skills within teams, with only 55 percent of marketers reporting this as a strength.

In fact, Australian marketers report the lowest levels of confidence in their ability to meet business and client needs, with just one in three feeling very confident in the year ahead.

This suggests that Australian marketers are putting innovative technology in the ‘too hard basket’ due to the level of re-training required and difficulty involved in its implementation.

It is essential that marketers stay ahead of the technology curve, so they can shape future customer experiences and improve on efficiencies or else risk being left behind by the competition.

The continued lag in adoption of innovative technologies and development of skills is clearly a missed opportunity for Australian marketers. Without investing in the latest technologies, and ensuring teams receive the necessary training and opportunity to develop expertise in their use, businesses will fall behind the competition and risk providing an inferior customer experience.

My advice to marketers is to examine which technologies make the most sense in terms of achieving their business objectives, and upskilling existing staff whilst bringing in external expertise to make implementation as smooth as possible.

Prue Cox is LinkedIn Australia and New Zealand’s director of marketing solutions. Learn more about emerging technologies by downloading the B2B Marketers Guide to Winning Australia.


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