SAN JOSE, Calif. (July 30, 2015)—Marketers are looking well beyond their traditional advertising agency base for domain experts to drive marketing performance and handle exploding data, digital migration, channel fragmentation and a more diverse, multi-cultural consumer base.

A new strategic report from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and Ebiquity—entitled “The Path Forward: Marketing’s Outlook Into The Digital Future”—suggests that as budgets increase to fund digital marketing campaigns and more personalized customer engagement, marketers now need additional expertise in data analytics, content creation and channel proliferation to improve ROI.

According to research from a CMO Council survey of 276 marketers in the first half of the year, there’s a new focus on finding high-performance marketing partners with specialized knowledge and business acumen. An overwhelming 83 percent of clients surveyed are looking for unique skill sets and specialized capabilities not found in most ad agencies or media buying firms.

When asked to identify who marketers consider to be part of their marketing performance partner group, few (if any) traditional holding companies, advertising firms or media agencies made
the list. Marketers are instead looking more to solution providers (once only seen as sources to enable technology and automation platforms) as their go-to sources for performance improvements and solution partners to tackle the biggest challenges facing marketing today.

When it comes to the marketing organization’s ability to address critical marketing challenges in 2015, survey respondents gave negative reviews in three essential areas. These included: 

  • Managing the data explosion (only 30 percent said they are doing this well or very well)

  • Analyzing data to create personalized experiences (just 29 percent said they are doing this well or very well)

  • Overcoming financial restraint and demonstrating ROI (less than 40 percent said they are doing this well or very well)

While 60 percent of survey respondents are spending more than $10 million annually on media buys, only 5 percent of participants say they are much more confident in their media or agency partner’s performance. In fact, marketers are looking to apply far more stringent and taxing ROI thresholds on their media and agency partners to maximize return. One marketing leader shared that as digital evolves, they must ensure that return on investment and return on advertising investment are held to higher standards.

“Our agencies and partners are absolutely different than they were even one year ago,” commented one marketing leader. “We have tripled our digital budgets compared to two years ago, so we are working to protect that. Our greatest areas of investment today are actually going toward building our digital infrastructure and our talent, so the agencies and partners we have now must be different as we look to address things like data and shopper behaviors.”

“What this brings to the surface is an even more heightened need to get the highest levels of performance and output—not just from the marketing organization, but also from the external agencies and marketing performance partners employed by the organization,” explained Liz Miller, Senior Vice President of Marketing for the CMO Council. “CMOs are frustrated by a lack of visibility into partner performance and are questioning everything from budgets to the realities of click fraud and paybacks.”

“Marketing is at a crossroads, and now is the time for agency partners to work even harder to meet the expectation for performance and creativity,” said Nick Manning, Chief Strategy Officer for Ebiquity, a leading marketing analytics specialist. “This has created an interesting phenomenon of global marketers placing their old agency accounts up for review—calling everything from performance to contract structure into question. Marketers recognize that the world has changed, and they’re looking for partners who can unlock the new communications landscape in all its manifestations while being responsible, professional business partners. Now is the time for agency partners to give marketers exactly what they want…and what the customer needs.”

The complimentary 20-page white paper is available for download at The data provided in the paper is the result of a 25-question poll of senior marketing leaders in the first half of 2015. Of the 276 marketers taking part in the study, 54 percent hail from organizations with more than $1 billion (USD) in revenue, with 47 percent holding CMO, senior vice president of marketing or head of marketing titles within their organizations.

About the CMO Council

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council is the only global network of executives specifically dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building among senior corporate marketing leaders and brand decision-makers across a wide range of global industries. The CMO Council's 9,000-plus members control more than $450 billion in aggregated annual marketing expenditures and run complex, distributed marketing and sales operations worldwide. In total, the CMO Council and its strategic interest communities include more than 35,000 global executives in more than 110 countries covering multiple industries, segments and markets. Regional chapters and advisory boards are active in the Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, India and Africa. The council's strategic interest groups include the Coalition to Leverage and Optimize Sales Effectiveness (CLOSE), Mobile Relationship Marketing (MRM) Strategies Forum,,, Marketing Supply Chain Institute, Customer Experience Board, Digital Marketing Performance Institute, GeoBranding Center and the Brand Inspiration Center. Learn more at

About Ebiquity

Ebiquity is a leading independent marketing analytics specialist. We guide our clients through an ever-changing marketing landscape, helping them optimize effectiveness and achieve business success. Our Marketing Performance Optimization services help them understand the impact of their investments on core business KPIs. Our Media Value Measurement services enable them to drive transparency and improve media performance. Our Market Intelligence services allow them to plan more effectively for better advertising and communications results.

Our 1,100-plus clients include more than 85 percent of the world’s biggest advertisers, whom we serve from our offices in New York, Chicago, London, Hamburg, Beijing, Sydney, Singapore and 10 other cities around the world. The group includes multi-channel analytics specialist Stratigent and independent marketing auditor FirmDecisions.