AIMIA DSI Launch: November 5, 2008

Digital is mainstream.

-John Butterworth, CEO, AIMIA

It was widely accepted that the digital industry – that while it had a significant amount of consumer data – the industry suffered from lack of industry data beyond online advertising spend.

The AIMIA Digital Services Index (DSI) was a document drawn together by AIMIA, Hyro and IBM Australia which was designed to measure the level of investment in the digital services industry.

  • 40% of customers engaged through digital services
  • 25% of customer expenditure tied to digital services
  • $17.9 billion on digital services in 2008

It was really interesting to note that 77% of respondents to the DSI had more than 1000 employees — Butterworth explained that this was attributed to the surveying of the big banks and other large more “traditional” corporates.

Richard Lord, CEO, Hyro was up next and it was nice to be greeted with an honest outlook — this is just the beginning, it is not the answer.

Lord made some interesting points about the results which included:

  • online advertising is a third of the spend of total digital marketing. digital marketing is only a quarter of a the over digital spend
  • every dollar of advertising — there’s 10 other spent on digital

    Perhaps the most interesting was the statistic that demonstrated just how under resourced the industry is — customer engagement through digital at 39% V.S. a 24.8% share of corporate revenue.

    David A Murray (IBM) followed who made the point that ownership of digital strategy is at the boardroom level and that the next edition will be completed next year after the financial crash might bear some very different results.

    Brad Howarth, Freelance Contributer, Australia Anthill Magazine was moderating the Q&A sessions and made a very engaging presentation on the outlook of the industry:

    • Much like trying to service your own car for it’s life time to keep it running we hire experts to cover this for us: yet companies embrace digital with out properly investing or recognising the expertise needed to manage, service and improve our digital strategies, technologies and services.
    • There’s no way the Australia online advertising industry can continue to grow at the rate it does.  It may slow down, but will not decrease from this point.  Howarth’s 6 month outlook: the uptake of digital services will accelerate.

    Best question by far was from Jennifer Wilson, Principal, Lean Forward -

    Were the companies surprised at the disconnect between customer engagement and revenue used to support it? Or were they ignorant of the fact?

    I quite enjoy the answer too.

    It was a cathartic discovery when we discovered the disconnect between investment and customer engagement percentages.  Didn’t realise it was as significant as it actually was.

    What is the role of government in all this?

    • Lord: money, and subsidies.
    • Butterworth: two things: 1 is a  recognition of what is going — which is an education process on the industry’s part. And 2: State and federal could lead by example: A big opportunity: Government in the biggest online publisher of content in Australia

    Report avaialble: www.digitalservicesindex.com.au

    Next year, round 2.

    Jye Smith is currently the Digital Strategist for Weber Shandwick Australia. Ranked in B&Ts 30 Under 30, he's a regular keynote speaker and workshop facilitator who specialises in digital strategy, social media marketing, and change management.