Global Marketing is Today's Most Complex and Challenged Busines Operational Unit, Says CMO Council Report

Marketers, Challenged by Change-Adverse Cultures and Lack of Cross-Functional Automation, are Tasked to Repair Fragmented Operations that Constrain Go-To-Market Efficiency and Effective Customer Engag

PALO ALTO, Calif. (February 23 , 2009) – Current marketing operational models are becoming increasingly complex and more crucial to the strategic success of global businesses, but are facing significant challenges from entrenched corporate cultures, inter-departmental politics, and a lack of adequate data and information systems. According to new research by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, marketers fear they will be unable to implement the needed marketing platforms and automated processes required to effectively support strategic growth initiatives.

The research, sponsored by integrated marketing platform provider Alterian, shows that even as global companies aspire to keep pace with dramatic market shifts and uncertain economic forecasts, major operational change appears extremely difficult to achieve. 83 percent of marketers say they face change-resistant corporate cultures, conflicts and competition between internal constituencies, and a resistance to operational accountability, visibility and measurement.

Calibrate How You Operate revealed that global marketing executives are challenged by a lack of corporate mandate for alignment and integration. Some 41 percent of the 400-plus marketers audited point to siloed data and limited cross-functional feedback loops as major internal challenges subverting the marketing operational process. Many are also struggling with low adoption and use of CRM systems (38 percent). A surprising 28 percent say they lack ownership of critical aspects of the marketing budget while 26 percent continue to struggle for divisional control and independence. 

The study underscores the critical need for marketing to drive operational effectiveness and optimally structure, resource, and run today's digitally driven, customer-centric, and globally distributed marketing organizations:

  • More than 60 percent of respondents believe that marketing operational transformation is an essential area of focus. However, only 4.5 percent are very satisfied with their current level of marketing operational visibility, accountability and output.

  • Overall marketing operational effectiveness is considered the least developed operational area by nearly 50 percent of respondents.

  • Investments in web-centric platforms will continue in 2009 as the majority of marketers indicate they will invest in areas including email campaign management, web content management, eMetrics and web analytics platforms. Only 8 percent of respondents will look to eProcurement and strategic sourcing, an area that could yield significant budgetary savings and operational efficiencies, as a component of their marketing operations mix.

  • While there is no clear method for budget development, only 10 percent of respondents indicate that marketing budgets are defined by a CMO-developed strategic agenda, while an equal number of executives see little to no forecasting, planning or budgeting within their organizations.

  • More than 26 percent of the respondents are unsure of the level of funding that will be allocated to operational change programs; another 25 percent report that their companies will spend only $100,000 (US) or less on marketing operational improvement initiatives in the year ahead.

Customer engagement and customer centric communications are top of mind for marketers as there is a clear shift towards targeted, focused and precise communications. Many of the top operational improvements targeted by marketers revolve around optimizing customer engagement, including improving go-to-market strategies and efficiency and delivering a unified and consistent message.

“Marketing operations has started to resemble an untended garden – packed with potential for growth and output, but constrained by the increasing complexity of operating at a global, Internet-fueled pace,” noted Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council. “Marketing operations directly affect a company’s go-to-market strategies and other strategic growth initiatives. Unfortunately, Calibrate How You Operate reveals a disturbing trend: companies are not spending nearly as much time, energy and budgetary resources as necessary on marketing operational improvement to heighten their competitiveness and bolster their top and bottom lines.”

Other key findings from the study include:

  • Sixty-one percent of respondents are structured with centralized marketing operations and strategy with localized programs executed by regional/country managers

  • A shocking 16 percent of marketers indicate that regardless of structure, marketing remains fragmented, lacking cohesion, integration and accountability

  • It is clear that marketers are eager to embrace automation as a means to process optimization and effectiveness as only 19 percent indicate an organizational unwillingness to utilize marketing automation tools

  • Also on a positive trend, only 17 percent of respondents indicate that marketing strategy is being rejected

  • There are indications that alignment between sales and marketing is possible as the majority of marketers cite sales as being the primary stakeholder with interests and feedback relevant to marketing. This is confirmed as 94 percent of marketers are utilizing platforms designed to better capture, qualify, communicate, convert and manage leads and customer contact information.

“As pressure grows on marketing to be more accountable, it is vital that marketers have the tools to demonstrate business value,” commented David Eldridge, CEO for Alterian, a leader in integrated marketing solutions across online and offline channels.”Marketing effectiveness can be tracked, measured and optimized down to the last detail, thereby driving top-line revenues and sustainable business growth. While technology can’t eradicate infighting, nor bridge cultural divides, integrated processes and unified platforms can certainly increase operational efficiencies and drive improved performance.”

The complete 63-page report, including a graphic depiction of an optimized marketing operational model, as defined by the CMO Council Advisory Board and Members, can be downloaded by visiting The full report is available for $299.00, with a complimentary executive summary also available for download. Content includes detailed findings from the online audit outlining various areas of investment and spend marketers intend to seek out in 2009, along with in-depth interviews with leading executives executing marketing operational transformation within leading global enterprises.

About the CMO Council
The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council is 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 4,000 members control more than $120 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 over 17,000 global executives in nearly 100 countries covering multiple industries, segments and markets. Regional chapters and advisory boards are active in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. The Council's strategic interest groups include the Coalition to Leverage and Optimize Sales Effectiveness (CLOSE), Brand Management Institute, and the Forum to Advance the Mobile Experience (FAME). More information on the CMO Council is available at

About Alterian
Alterian (LSE: ALN) empowers marketers with an integrated marketing software platform combining database, online and operational marketing applications on a shared data infrastructure. The Alterian Integrated Marketing Platform makes it practical and cost effective for marketers to use actionable insight to execute an integrated marketing strategy across online and offline channels. Alterian’s analytically-led software is delivered to approximately 1,000 marketing departments, across 26 countries, and an international network of more than 100 business partners, including marketing services providers, agencies and systems integrators. Its partners, such as Accenture, Acxiom, Allant Group, Cap Gemini, Carlson Marketing, Experian, Epsilon, InfoUSA, LogicaCMG, Merkle, Ogilvy One and Euro RSCG Worldwide, deliver Alterian software alongside their own domain and services expertise to help market leaders such as Princess Cruises, General Motors, Zurich, Astra Zeneca, HSBC, Limited Too, AEGON, Avis, Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment, Dell, Amnesty International and Vodafone integrate marketing processes and drive competitive advantage.