On average, 38% of retail marketing budgets are devoted to digital channels, according to a recent report from Conversant.

Moreover, 20% of retail marketers report that digital now accounts for 50-75% of their total spend, and 19% say that it constitutes 75-100% of their marketing budget.

The findings come from a survey conducted in December 2013 of 82 senior-level marketers who work for retailers (brick-and-mortar businesses and e-tailers).

Below, additional key findings from the report.

Direct Response vs. Branding

  • Respondents say they are now commonly using digital channels for both direct response and brand building.
  • 58% disagree that digital is better for driving short-term sales than long-term brand building.


  • 86% of senior retail marketers strongly agree or somewhat agree that personalized messages can be more effective than mass messages.
  • 59% say omnichannel behaviors—in which consumers access digital experiences across multiple devices—complicate personalization.
  • 26% strongly agree that "the future of marketing is in synchronized personalized communications tailored to every individual."


  • 65% of respondents say they work with more than five marketing vendors (31% work with 11 or more).
  • 48% report that finding the right digital vendor is somewhat or extremely difficult.
  • 56% say "It's difficult to integrate the large number of digital vendors we work with."


  • 74% of respondents say retargeting is an important tactic for driving close-in/impulse buyers to make a purchase.
  • 28% say retargeting can hurt brands due to consumer privacy concerns.
  • 44% say retargeting gets over-credited for sales because the lower funnel audience tends to be more likely to respond.

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey conducted in December 2013 of 82 senior-level marketers who work for retailers.

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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