Where CMOs are spending their budgets

How are the marketing honchos looking to invest their time and money? Here’s what PR pros should know to stay competitive.

Despite the success of internet retailers like Amazon, companies generate less than 10% of their business online—a number that hasn’t changed in a decade.

More than half of the CMOs cite consumers’ need for human interaction as the key factor, according to recent research. Those figures are benchmarked against a 2009 study by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Deloitte and the AMA, which collaborated on a project to survey CMOs. It was the first of its kind and attracted more than 8,300 participants.

Concerns about a possible and impending recession have driven up spending on market penetration, while market development and product and service development budgets have declined since 2009. CMOs also ranked talented staff as being higher on their priority list for increasing revenue than having the right data and technology.

Gaining new customers is always a priority to CMOs, and nearly 72% predicted an increase in customer acquisition. Of note, they see higher spending on new customer acquisition spending than on customer retention. Three-quarters (74%) said they would use channel partners to achieve this.

Marketing budgets for nearly all companies surveyed showed the largest share of budgets (87%) directed at the U.S. market—marking a 10% increase since 2012, long before the current tariff war with China.

Marketing budgets, aided by efficient and economical digital technology advances, have grown slightly. They averaged 10.7% of overall revenue from 2011 to 2018.

Spending on digital marketing continued to hover 10% above traditional advertising for the past eight years. This is in line with the explosion of customers increasingly relying on digital devices to search for and buy goods and services.

CMOs seem to want to be at the forefront of digital technology and social media, as evidenced by their prioritizing capability development. More than 56% said new hires bring in missing skills that aren’t fulfilled through added training, and 40% said they work with consultants and other agencies.

Spending for social media rose slightly in 2017. The survey speculated that marketers seek a deeper understanding of marketing analytics and social media to justify investment in those areas.

Nearly 44% of CMOs reported employing marketing analytics in their decision-making. The next stepcould be a predictive model to help marketers to anticipate marketplace changes.

The top challenges cited are growth and validating the influence of marketing on revenue.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading NY PR Agency.

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