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Marketers who want to keep up with customers in today's fast-paced online world need to adapt to the multitude of buying journeys that digital creates. That's easier said than done: Being adaptive requires connecting to, learning from, measuring, and changing based on the digital breadcrumbs that customers leave in their wake during their journeys.

The challenge many companies face is that the digital marketing engines they use haven't evolved at the same pace as marketers' changing needs. As a result, they feel stuck.

To get unstuck, marketers need to first understand their current level of marketing maturity so that they can identify opportunities for growth and create a plan to move further along the maturity curve.

There are three common stages in digital marketing maturity: Email Marketers, Multichannel Campaigners, and Adaptive Marketing Pros. Once a business diagnoses which level it is at, it can better strategize how to move forward for optimal business success.

Level 1: Email Marketers

Email is still the main digital channel for many businesses. It provides direct communication, it's relatively inexpensive, and, most important, it's effective.

Although email is an important part of the digital mix, those at the most basic level of digital marketing maturity rely primarily on email instead of taking full advantage of other digital channels.

Organizations at this level often have a strategy supported by an email service provider with simple and limited functionality.

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image of Adam Mertz

Adam Mertz is VP of marketing and strategy at Act-On Software, provider of a marketing automation platform. With more than 20 years' experience leading product and marketing teams for high-growth B2B technology companies, Adam drives Act-On Software's strategy, positioning, and thought leadership.

LinkedIn: Adam Mertz

Twitter: @adammertz