By Adam Fraser
The latest CMO Survey has been released with its usual batch of interesting findings and insights. This bi-annual survey is well respected and is the longest-running survey dedicated to understanding the field of marketing. The latest edition received responses from 349 top marketing executives in the USA.
There are data points aplenty across the detailed 49 pages of results, but if you don’t have time to dive into the details, some of the key highlights were:
- Internet sales as a percentage of total sales remain relatively modest at 11.8%, flat on the prior survey from 6 months ago, and broadly flat over the last 3 years; from an industry perspective, Education (43% of sales) and consumer services (28% of sales) lead Internet sales.
- Marketing budgets as a whole are expected to grow but the rate of growth is slowing from prior periods (9% from 11%); notwithstanding the declining rate of growth, this remains a healthy barometer for overall spending.
- There is a marked difference re advertising spend trends between ‘traditional’ and ‘digital’ (side note – these boundaries between these definitions will become harder to define in the coming years) – with digital marketing spend expected to grow by 13% versus a decline of 2% in traditional advertising.
- Marketing budgets represent 11.4% of overall expense budgets, a slight increase on 6m ago, and broadly consistent with the trends over the past 3 years.
- Marketing spend is 6.9% of company revenues – this ratio has declined from the prior 2 periods; as a barometer, this was 8.3% 3 years ago in August 2014.
- Marketers are expected to expand social media spend by 89% in the next 5 years – growing from the current 9.8% of marketing budgets to 18.5% in 5 years time.
- B2C Products lead the expected growth in social media spend; all sectors are expected to grow by ~25-40% in next year.
- Based on survey responses, the assessment of how effectively social media is integrated into overall marketing strategy is showing no progress.
- The ROI challenge is alive and well as survey respondents confirmed the impact of social media remains difficult to prove.
- Marketing spend on mobile expected to increase 117% in three years but interestingly respondents assessed mobile’s impact on customers, brand, and financial outcomes as low.
- Spending on marketing analytics is forecast to increase a massive 229% in three years – moving from 5.5% of total marketing budgets to 18%.
Interestingly, while the spend on marketing analytics is growing significantly, only 1.9% of respondents felt they had the right talent to fully leverage those analytics.
In a related blog post, CMO survey director Christine Moorman analysed the contradiction between growing spend in social, mobile and digital yet disappointing effectiveness:
“One reason performance is lagging may be because companies remain focused on digital strategies, not on building a digital marketing organization. A digital marketing organization means embedding digital marketing activities into the very core of the organization. This means that digital marketing activities transform how the company operates, including its culture, its leaders, how it makes decisions, employee training and incentives, cross-functional cooperation, and the role of marketing capabilities.”
The recurring podcast theme of tactics before strategy in marketing seems to also be coming through in this survey.
A good piece of research into the current thinking of senior marketers.