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Survey: CMOs Charging Ahead With Digital Spending

Despite all the talk of boundless possibility for automation, the majority of CMOs still believe that online sales need more human interaction, according to the August 2018 CMO Survey. That finding was linked to survey data that found sales via the internet remained fairly low, making up just 12.2 percent of companies’ sales.

The CMO Survey, commissioned by Deloitte, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and the American Marketing Association, surveyed nearly 3,000 top marketers (with a 11.2 percent response rate) to monitor industry trends.

Among other interesting finds, was that digital spending is up. “Marketers are charging ahead with digital spending,” said Christine Moorman, founder of the CMO Survey. “At the same time, concerns about privacy and the state of digital marketing capabilities lag.”

It’s an interesting contradiction of feelings on the part of CMOs — one that appears to desperately warrant newer business models to keep up with things. Marketing budgets continue to grow, per the survey, “even as total marketing spending as a percentage of firm revenues has dipped.” The survey found that digital spend is slated to increase by 12.3 percent over the next year, and overall marketing budgets (now about 44 percent digital) would reach 54 percent digital in the next five years.

Increasing digital spend, though, clearly doesn’t indicate greater ROI. Per the CMO Survey:

“While the ability to demonstrate the impact of social media has improved in four years, the effectiveness with which it’s been integrated into marketing strategy has remained flat.” Then, there was also this surprising detail: “Over the last five years, growth in spending on new service introductions has almost reached the same level as growth in spending on new product introductions.”

Last month, I spoke to Lilly Wieber, director of product marketing, Nielsen, and she said she was surprised to find such a high percentage of companies that did not know what marketing mix modeling is.

“We assumed the majority of B2C companies with large marketing budgets were using data-driven methods to measure the impact of their advertising efforts, and using those insights to inform how to best spend their dollars, as our clients are,” Wieber said. “But the findings reinforced that there is still a lot of opportunity to educate marketers at these large companies of the options and capabilities that are available to them, so they can more confidently assess the performance of their spend and determine how to set their budget.”

Demonstrating the value of your strategy means proving the worthiness of marketing spend, and there remains a lot of variation in how businesses opt to approach the annual budget.

Other tidbits from the second CMO survey of 2018:

  • Respondents noted that quality of talent is key to growth, but investing in resources like training and development dipped slightly.
  • Social media spend increased more in the last year than in any prior survey year and is slated to increase over the next five years by 66 percent.
  • Marketing hiring dipped slightly in the last six months, while outsourcing grew to its highest level in five years.
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