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14 Statistics Every E-Commerce Marketing Director/VP Should Know About Their Role in 2021

Learn how other e-commerce marketing directors and VPs are growing in their role and developing their teams.

E-commerce marketing directors and VPs are leaders and mentors. They’re tasked with developing their team while spearheading their company’s marketing strategy and executing strategic planning and activities.

Sidecar’s 2021 E-Commerce Marketer Survey shines new light on exactly that. Sidecar surveyed marketing professionals in the e-commerce and retail industry who are based in North America.

Respondents reported job titles including associate, manager, director, VP, chief marketing officer (CMO), and chief executive officer (CEO). They also reported company revenue, which we grouped into three buckets: <$10 million (referred to as “small” retailers), $10 million to <$50 million (referred to as “mid-sized” retailers), and $50 million+ (referred to as “enterprise” retailers).

Here’s a look at what directors and VPs told us about how they’re developing their teams to meet their company goals, while also growing in their role.

90% of directors and VPs believe they have the training and skills to succeed in e-commerce marketing over the next 12-24 months.

Yet nearly all still reported a new skill they wish to obtain to advance their careers.


SEO is the #1 skill that e-commerce marketing directors/VPs believe will advance their careers.

Directors and VPs understand the ongoing importance of SEO to drive exposure, differentiation, and branding. That said, other key skills, including data analytics and performance marketing, are not far behind, illustrating the growing importance of a well-rounded skill set. Directors and VPs in particular also told us they are interested in developing strategic thinking skills that can help them lead their company through a changing environment.


50% of e-commerce directors and VPs want more time for brand building.

This response may indicate an industry-wide trend to build the top of the funnel as low-funnel, direct response advertising becomes more competitive.


The #1 goal of e-commerce marketing teams is to acquire new customers.

Customer acquisition drives topline revenue, which is almost always a marketing priority. More recently, customer acquisition has taken on greater importance with shoppers flocking online out of necessity. Retailers are capitalizing on this opportunity and seeking to expand their audience.


Only 6% of e-commerce marketing teams say that growing brand awareness is their top goal.

Interestingly, while our survey shows that 50% of directors and VPs want more time for brand building, they are unable to prioritize it as their team’s #1 goal. This might be because it is less measurable than customer acquisition and driving revenue.


Limited time is the #1 challenge for e-commerce marketing directors/VPs, with 40% reporting this challenge.

Directors and VPs are often stretched across strategic and tactical responsibilities. Rethinking resourcing in creative ways — by developing team members or considering automation — is one major area for improvement.


Facebook is the top ad platform that e-commerce marketing directors/VPs want to spend more time on, with 52% reporting this platform.

Facebook continues to build on its established roots and provide ways to segment audiences in increasingly relevant ways. Ultimately, 2021 will be about maintaining a healthy portfolio that incorporates platforms which form marketers’ foundation and platforms that are the sources of experimentation and growth.


82% of e-commerce marketing teams have hired in-house talent in the past 12 months, with social media marketing as the #1 most hired role.

Social media marketing is a continually expanding area. Many team members must understand social media and be part of a matrixed approach to supporting the channel.


67% of e-commerce marketing teams are planning to hire in the next 12 months, with a wide spectrum of 18 roles on their lists.

The breadth of these roles reflects the myriad ways marketers are striving to better engage with their audiences. Here are just a handful of those roles. (See the full list by downloading the survey report.)


66% of e-commerce marketing teams are planning to hire vendors over the next 12 months — nearly equal to the number of teams planning to add in-house talent (67%).

Our survey uncovered a wide swath of functions that marketers are planning to add through vendors. All 18 functions that marketers reported as in-house hires also appeared as vendor hires, including data analytics and social media marketing.


83% of directors/VPs have time for ad creative.

Directors and VPs are comfortable accomplishing their goals on digital ad platforms when it comes to ad creative (83%) and audience segmentation (50%). But looking for areas to expand is just as important. 


Only 12% of directors and VPs have time for cross-channel strategies and tracking channel updates.

These tasks can be demanding in terms of time, research, and planning. Yet they are critical for growing performance. In fact, marketers conveyed the importance of these tasks in other areas of our survey, indicating that if they could find a way to do them, they would. These can be areas where training, talent acquisition, and external partners provide lift.


57% of directors and VPs want to automate bid adjustments for keywords and products.

Automation is right for certain tasks — those that are time-consuming and data-intensive. Bid adjustments clearly fit the bill.


Only 5% of directors and VPs want to automate cross-channel strategy.

Automation can’t live in a set-it-and-forget-it silo. Our findings show that marketers are not keen to automate strategic tasks, like cross-channel strategy, keyword strategy, and pricing strategy. Similar thinking applies to highly creative tasks, like ad creative. Marketers recognize the value of pairing automation with human experience and know-how — which is perhaps also why our survey found a strong emphasis on both data and instinct.


Many of the capabilities and skills that directors and VPs are prioritizing point to a changing industry that’s increasingly online and data-driven. The job of directors and VPs entails steering the team in the right direction and focusing more resources on underdeveloped areas.

Now might be a crucial time to rethink talent acquisition and vendor partnerships, filling in expertise gaps, and to give team members the greenlight to develop their skill sets in ways that address any shortcomings.

The 2021 E-commerce Marketer Survey has 50 pages of stats and findings, well beyond what we could fit in this article. Download it now for more insights on driving your growth as a leader and developing your team in ways that meet your company goals.

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