The CMO Survey: Can Marketing Do More with Less?

By Jim Ellis

The latest installment of The CMO Survey has arrived, and the results are causing a stir in the marketing world.

Sponsored by Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, The American Marketing Association and McKinsey & Company, the influential biannual survey collects perspectives on marketing budgets, growth strategies, the use of social media, analytics and the economy from more than 4,000 top U.S. marketing executives and AMA members.

You can watch survey director Christine Moorman discuss some of the key findings here:

Moorman points out a few key highlights, including the following:

  • Social Media – Marketers’ budgeted spend on social media will increase from 6.6% now to 15.8% in 5 years. However, 49% of marketers admit they have difficulty in measuring its impact on their business. Moreover, they admitted they have some work to do when it comes to effectively integrating social media into their overall marketing strategy. They rated this a 3.9 on a scale of 1 to 7.
  • Marketing Analytics – Budgeted spend on marketing analytics will increase from 5.5% to 8.7% in 3 years. However, marketers admit that they use available marketing analytics for only 29% of their projects, representing a decrease from historical results.
  • Showing impact of marketing – Only 1/3 of marketers said they can quantitatively demonstrate the impact of marketing on their business, while the remaining 2/3 are experiencing more pressure to prove the value of their efforts to CEOs and Boards of Directors.

One thing that resonates with me is that the “do more with less” mantra seems to be loud and clear, and this definitely creates some anxiety for me and others in the marketing business. The data shows that companies have less marketing budget and fewer in-house marketing people, provide less training of those people, and are outsourcing marketing less, in comparison to historical figures.

So what does this all mean? It could point to better technology, improvements in marketing processes and more accountability. Companies are “doing more with less” by investing in tools that help streamline marketing, improve efficiency, track leads all the way through to sale and prove ROI. The more digital everything gets, the less marketers waste. The old saying was, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” Now it’s becoming less of a guessing game. That’s the optimist theory, anyway.

So far in practice, marketers recognize the value of the new digital tools, and the investment in them is being made. Once marketers learn how to effectively integrate the tools into their programs, we should all be in a better position to quantify the value of our marketing efforts.

Review the full survey here and let us know what you think.

Jim Ellis

Partner / VP Business Development

Jim joined Signal in 1999, bringing us his formidable skills in project management, client relations and number-crunching. He became a partner in 2017. Jim manages the business development team and offers seasoned expertise in account management, digital marketing and brand strategy. As a songwriter and musician with a business degree, he believes this “dual personality” gives him the understanding needed to be an effective liaison between business owners and Signal’s talented creative team. Originally from Ohio, Jim graduated from the University of Richmond with a B.S. in Business Administration.

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