2016 Survey of Marketing and Communications in Canadian Government
Posted by Nicole Gibson, Regional Marketing Manager – Canada
Earlier this year, 300 marketing managers of Canada’s public sector were invited to complete an anonymous survey on their overall experiences and expectations as marketing and communications professionals in government.
Key findings include:
- The top three challenges in 2015 were a lack of time, budget, and experienced staff.
- The top challenges anticipated for 2016 are budget, time, technology, strategy, and measurement.
- Social media and video marketing activity are anticipated to increase in 2016. Other investments should remain high for website, search engine optimization (SEO), email and event marketing.
- Marketing resources will likely move to a high-engagement content strategy that focuses on building citizen awareness and education. If this becomes the key goal for public sector organizations, knowledge of secure and effective content management tools will be needed to keep teams collaborative and efficient.
- Finally, respondents primarily rely on internet searches, product review sites, blogs and recommendations from colleagues to decide on their next marketing technology investments.
See below for detailed results of the survey.
Measuring Overall Marketing Effectiveness
The majority of respondents stated their 2015 marketing expectations had been met. However, specific Government of Canada (GC) department respondents were less positive than agency and Crown corporation respondents. Fifty-nine percent of GC department respondents said their expectations were met compared to 88 percent of agency and Crown respondents.
When asked on more specific benchmarks about marketing effectiveness, respondents expressed general neutrality with a lean toward dissatisfaction. Measurements included the ability to connect with a target audience, establish effective thought leadership, set the desired brand position and present a consistent message to the public.
Top Challenges Faced in 2015
Effectively serving and communicating with a diverse group of citizens can be a challenge, especially as existing staff must contend with higher expectations and become proficient managing a greater number of messaging platforms.
In 2015, respondents ranked their top three challenges which were budget, time, and inexperienced staff.
These struggles can be connected to each other, as with a larger budget, one could hire more experienced staff or afford the appropriate training. Increased funds would also allow investment in tools that can free up time and make it easier for in-house staff to collaborate and execute their creative visions.
Top Challenges Anticipated for 2016
Interestingly, the noted concerns for 2016 slightly differed from the concerns in the previous year. Overall, the need for more experienced staff was left out, and instead replaced with concerns over technology adoption, strategy and goal measurement.
Agency and Crown corporations marked technology as their second largest concern for 2016, while budget and time remain as their other top concerns.
However, the GC department marketers noted budget and time to continue being their top two concerns, while strategy and measurement were added and ranked third on the list. More specifically, 15 percent of GC department respondents anticipate challenges in developing a proper marketing strategy and measurement. In addition, coordinating efforts with other departments, governance, integration and use of owned channels, and getting new creative approved are also challenges being anticipated.
These changes in expected challenges by public sector agencies and crowns can be seen as an overall acceptance of the importance of digital strategy, technology adoption and analytics. This concern regarding inexperienced staff is expected to be resolved, in part, with the implementation of proper marketing tools.
What Marketing Tools Will Be Used in 2016?
In 2016, respondents are expected to embrace the GCs new “digital first” direction, with a greater use of digital marketing tools anticipated. However, even in 2015, social media posts were ranked as the most effective, and expected to hold its position as the most popular communications tool in 2016 for the public sector. Video marketing was also recognized to provide “some effect” in 2015 and anticipated to increase greatly as a marketing practice in 2016.
Other investments will go heavily to website and search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, as well as a mix of email marketing and even traditional event planning in 2016.
Overall, little value was found in direct mail or whitepaper efforts last year. Less focus is anticipated to be placed on these tools in 2016.
When asked how respondents discover new technology and decide on what tools to invest in, they stated they found information primarily through a search on the Internet, on product review sites and blogs, and from recommendations from colleagues.
The survey also showed that 54 percent of respondents are unfamiliar with the procurement process to acquire new marketing tools.
Marketing Objectives for 2016
Building awareness, educational campaigns, and an engaged audience are the most important marketing goals in the Canadian federal public sector for 2016, according to the survey. Brand promotion and thought leadership were also ranked very important as shown below:
The marketing objectives for 2016 indicate that there will be a great demand for relevant, high-quality content. More attention will also be paid to best practices in content development, management and tracking to ensure teams stay competitive and efficient.
For more information on the 2016 Government of Canada Marketing and Communications Survey Results, contact Nicole Gibson.
Adobe proudly champions delivering digital experiences that matter to Canadians. With higher expectations on GC marketers to deliver impactful and relevant digital content, Adobe is available to help. Learn more about how Adobe’s Government Solutions can empower your team with the tools to be more creative and ensure your messaging attracts and resonates with your audience.