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CMOCouncil-Marketers-Strategy-Considerations-Aug2014Marketers are enjoying “greater elevation and influence in the executive suite,” says the CMO Council in its annual “State of Marketing” report [download page]. Indeed, only 1 in 5 feel that the role of the CMO doesn’t carry the same level of respect as other C-level executives, and more than two-thirds feel that the CMO is either a trusted member of the C-suite’s “inner circle” or a part of the leadership discussion. So what does senior management want from marketing leaders – and what will marketers rely on to make their decisions?

Asked to select their top 5 senior management mandates from 18 options, respondents to the survey were most likely to indicate that they are to, in the next 12 months:

  • Drive top-line growth (56%);
  • Grow or retain market share (52%);
  • Better define brand and value proposition (44%); and
  • Further customer insight and analytics (37%).

While it’s not too surprising to see these rather broad mandates top the list (with customer insight a growing area of focus), it’s interesting to see relatively few respondents citing increased marketing accountability and measurement (29%), particularly in light of recent survey results suggesting that management is putting more pressure on marketers to prove their value.

Nevertheless, a significant 81% of respondents believe that the mandates set for them by senior management are attainable, and a slim majority have are at least halfway to success.

Separately, while marketing accountability may not be a top mandate this coming year, marketers will be heavily reliant on ROI considerations when determining their marketing strategies and mix allocations. Of the 24 options listed, potential payback and/or return on spend ranked as the second-biggest consideration influencing such strategies, cited among their top-5 by 39% of respondents. That was second only to management or business leader direction, a top-5 influence for 58% of global marketers’ strategy formulations.

Close behind ROI considerations, some 37% name market/media research and analytics a top-5 influence, and an equal 37% count digital media and online marketing effectiveness as a key consideration. Shifts in consumer behavior – such as more online customer interaction, and customer migration to social media and web 2.0 engagement channels – are perceived to be lesser considerations this year. That could be a reflection of marketers’ growing confidence in their digital marketing prowess: only 1 in 6 describe their digital marketing performance as “lagging,” “struggling,” or “failing,” with the majority feeling that they are growing their capabilities and improving measurement.

About the Data: The CMO Council describes its methodology in part as follows:

“A large sample of 525 CMO Council members from all regions of the world participated, representing a cross-section of industries and companies of all sizes. Most participants (56 percent) report directly to a CEO, president or chief operating officer. A further 18 percent of respondents said they report in to business division chiefs or heads of regional operations. A large number (more than 70 percent) had a vice president title or higher. The remaining senior marketers who contributed to the study were director-level decision makers with budget and operational responsibility. In terms of department size, 42 percent of respondents manage global teams of more than 50 professionals, with 12 percent managing more than 300.

With regard to company size, 45 percent of respondents represent companies of more than $1 billion in annual sales, 27 percent are with companies with revenues between $101 million and $1 billion, and 28 percent work for companies with revenues of less than $100 million. Relative to addressable markets, 41 percent are focused on B2B markets, 23 percent on B2C, and 35 percent crossed both sectors. The locations of companies were also quite diverse, with 50 percent based in North America, 19 percent in Europe, 18 percent in APAC, and 5 percent in both Africa and the Middle East. Three (3) percent of those surveyed represent companies headquartered in Latin America.”

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