The dictionary defines “readiness” as the state of being fully prepared for something. It is easy to compare how well prepared companies are for digital marketing by looking at their digital marketing staff strength as a percentage of their total marketing staff and at their digital marketing spend as a percentage of their total marketing spend. More-prepared marketers prioritize digital in their marketing planning. More-prepared marketers run best-in-class digital marketing programs and communicate with the customers across multiple devices. More-prepared marketers measure how well their digital programs accomplish their business goals and how channels work together to accomplish a desired outcome.
In the past, Forrester has developed tools and frameworks that help firms assess their digital marketing maturity. Forrester has now launched a new research framework: the Forrester Readiness Index (FRI) for digital marketing. This framework is a quantitative assessment that provides insights into the digital marketing environment and available opportunity for 55 countries across the globe through 23 quantitative variables.
The FRI ranks the countries as a composite digital marketing index. This is built on a foundation of 23 individual metrics that we deem to be the core indicators reflecting digital marketing readiness. Measured on a country level, the variables relate to the online user population and their engagement; the devices they use to go online; their online tenure; the number of digital marketers; current online ad spend through different online channels, such as display, search, and social; online infrastructure; and the macroeconomic environment of the country.
The US takes the top position in the Forrester Readiness Index: Digital Marketing, 2015. The US scores well on a number of variables: Its GDP is the highest in the world, at more than $17 trillion in 2014; it has one of the largest online populations in the world, and these online users are highly engaged and have a longer online tenure than in most other countries; US online advertising spending is the highest in the world in absolute dollar terms, while the US is way ahead of other countries in terms of online infrastructure metrics, such as the number of IP addresses or mail servers. In terms of the top 10 economies, the US is followed by China, Japan, the UK, South Korea, Germany, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and Sweden.
The FRI will help digital marketing vendors and agencies prioritize countries for global expansion. This framework will help them benchmark each country's digital marketing readiness and provide a clear outline of its strengths and opportunities, helping them set out a country-specific strategy.
Forrester’s ForecastView clients can access the FRI for digital marketing as an Excel-based interactive tool that allows country-level and variable-level comparisons.