New Survey Shows that 8 in 10 Digital Marketers Feel Under More Pressure to Meet Acquisition and Revenue Goals than they Did One Year Ago


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The Report from WBR Insights and SheerID reveals marketers top 2 concerns are differentiating in a noisy marketplace, and rising privacy concerns. Report also details marketer’s planned investments for 2019.

Portland, OR – November 5, 2018 – According to a new survey of 150 digital marketers across the U.S. – with most employed by companies doing $1B or more in annual revenue – 77% feel under greater pressure to meet acquisition and revenue goals than they did one year ago. Published today by SheerID and WBR Insights, the report surveyed digital marketers within the retail, travel, financial services, consumer-packaged goods and food services industries. The survey asked marketers questions regarding the top concerns they have for acquiring new customers and the strategies and tactics they plan to use in 2019.

Surprisingly, marketing program owners, not c-suite executives, felt the greatest pressure compared to a year ago. Marketing program owners within the travel (97%) and retail (81%) sectors reported feeling more pressure than they did last year. Only 33% of C-Suite executives – across all industries – stated that they felt more pressure to meet new customer acquisition and revenue targets.

What’s causing the pressure?

Marketers are struggling with a noisy marketplace. Respondents indicated that the single biggest challenge they faced when acquiring new customers was differentiating from competitors”. “Privacy concerns and/or privacy regulations” (19%) ranked as the second biggest challenge, as privacy laws like GDPR start to restrain marketing efforts. Moreover, when asked about their concerns with online and social advertising networks, 60% stated they are “concerned about the lack of control of consumer data”. “Rising costs” (16%) was third greatest challenge that the group cited, with half expressing concern regarding the rising acquisition costs from online and social advertising networks.

Reliance on Mass Discounting Likely Adding to Market Noise

Marketers are leaning heavily on mass discounting tactics, with 80% stating that promotions and discounts are an important part of their customer acquisition strategies. Mass discounting is particularly prevalent within the travel and retail industries, with 93% of travel and 75% of retail marketers running either weekly or “continuous” discounts. 62% of travel and 50% of retail marketers said “nothing prevents me from running more promotions.” In fact, 69% of retail marketers believe increasing the level or frequency of promotions and discounts will help increase sales, exacerbating the “noise” in the market.

Where will brands put their marketing dollars in the coming year?

Marketers across the board expressed a clear desire for finding novel approaches to acquire customers: despite plans to invest more across all marketing channels, 71% are looking for ways to differentiate through “new” marketing channels versus investing in existing ones (51%). Additionally, marketers across every segment are beginning to question the value of mass discounting with 65% expressing a worry that running more promotions will either condition consumers to expect discounts, devalue their brand or reduce their margins. Only 35% believe more universal promotions and discounts don’t have a negative effect.

Despite the travel and retail industries’ heavy reliance on mass discounting, 93% and 78% respectively said they would be open to using segment-specific “gated offers” today – that is, promotions and special offers that are targeted and made available only to a specific market segment such as students or active military. Moreover, 95% of respondents across all five industries stated an interest in trying, testing, or researching gated offers today.

“We found a certain irony in the results of this survey,” stated Jake Weatherly, CEO of SheerID. “At a time when a seemingly unlimited number of advertising vehicles are available to marketers, these professionals are struggling more than ever to get the attention and business of consumers because of oversaturation. What also seems clear – certainly in the context of promotions – is that marketers who take a more selective, targeted approach with their campaigns are the ones who are feeling less pressure to meet their acquisition and revenue goals.”

To view the full report, click here. Or signup for the webinar discussing the findings of the report, as well as a case study from TOMS on their use of gated offers.


SheerID partnered with WBR Insights to survey 150 leaders in customer acquisition across five different consumer-facing industries. Most respondents represent B2C companies generating $1 billion or more in annual revenue. The survey was conducted between late August and early September, 2018.

The vast majority of respondents are directly involved in customer engagement and acquisition initiatives. Nearly half of respondents (47%) are customer experience experts. Most of the remaining respondents are customer acquisition (27%) and customer retention or loyalty (24%) experts. Two percent of respondents have some other role.

In each case, nearly one-quarter of respondents are in retail (24%) and financial services (21%) industries. Twenty percent of respondents are in the travel industry. The remaining respondents are in the food services (18%) and consumer-packaged goods (17%) industries.

About SheerID

SheerID’s leading digital verification platform instantly verifies the eligibility of individuals and businesses, for leading brands to deliver gated, exclusive offers and experiences to high-value customer segments while mitigating fraud and minimizing friction. By using authoritative data sources to verify credentials in real-time within an organization’s brand experience, SheerID delivers a seamless customer experience that reduces churn and fuels loyalty to drive revenue growth. As a result, the world’s biggest brands – including Amazon, Lowe’s, Spotify, and T-mobile – rely on SheerID as their trusted verification partner. Founded in 2011, SheerID is backed by Voyager Capital and Centana Growth Partners. Follow @SheerID on Twitter or LinkedIn at

About WBR Insights

WBR Insights is the custom research division of WBR (Worldwide Business Research), the world leader in B2B focused conferences. From research-based whitepapers to benchmarking reports, infographics and webinars, our mission is to help global institutions across a variety of industries to inform and educate their key stakeholders while achieving their strategic goals.

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