Not surprisingly, the foremost worry for marketers is reaching customers, with 82% saying it is a major concern, according to a recent survey by Adobe.

The next most common worries are understanding whether campaigns are working (79% of survey respondents) and proving campaign effectiveness (77%).

Demonstrating return on investment for marketing spend is the fourth biggest concern (75% of respondents), followed by using digital tools effectively (70%).

Below, additional key findings from the report, Digital Distress: What Keeps Marketers Up at Night?, which was based on data from an online survey of 1,000 US marketers (263 digital marketers and 754 generalists).

Digital Demands

  • Only 48% of the digital marketers surveyed feel highly proficient in digital marketing.
  • Generalists are even less confident, with just 37% saying that they feel highly proficient.
  • Overall, only one in three marketers think their companies are highly proficient in digital marketing, and only two out of five marketers think their colleagues and peers are highly proficient.
  • In particular, marketers feel ill equipped to tackle the digital challenges of e-commerce, personalization, and measurement.

Marketing Proficiency and Change

  • In general, marketers have low confidence in their organization's marketing performance. Only 40% think their company's marketing is effective.
  • Just 44% say their marketing departments have a great deal of influence over their organization's overall business strategy.
  • 76% of marketers think marketing has changed more in the past two years than the past 50.
  • Marketers are mixed on what areas to focus on in the future—with social media, personalization, digital advertising, and cross-channel marketing all seen as rising in importance over the next three years.


  • 83% of respondents said proving return on investment on marketing spends is important.
  • 79% say it will be even more important to prove ROI in the next 12 months.

About the research: The report was based on data from an online survey of 1,000 US marketers (436 decision makers, 499 staff members; 263 digital marketers, and 754 marketing generalists). The survey was conducted between August 26 and September 11, 2013.

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji