Agencies take back seat as clients build new internal skills, deploy marketing performance platforms and improve campaign effectiveness and outcomes.

PALO ALTO, Calif. (April 19, 2010) – Watch out if you’re a traditional ad agency with a limited suite of standardized creative and media services. You're likely to have less budget, control and influence with your client. According to the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council’s latest State of Marketing Report, corporate marketers expect to become less dependent on agencies and more self-sufficient with their own internal digital marketing infrastructures, talents and go-to-market capabilities.

The global affinity network of 5,000 senior marketers surveyed more than 600 of its members to gather insights and contributions for its seminal report, The State Of Marketing: Outlook, Intentions and Investments for 2010, sponsored this year by Deloitte Consulting LLP, and ExactTarget.

This annual Marketing Outlook Audit (involving 46 questions) extracted a wide range of insights and views. Participants were drawn from every major region of the world and were representative of most vertical industry sectors and company sizes. Almost 63 percent of respondents said they reported directly to the CEO, president or COO, while another 21 percent said they were accountable to a regional vice president, general manager or division/business group head.

Investing in digital demand generation and online relationship building ranks among the top initiatives being taken to maximize the impact and value of marketing in 2010, reported 46 percent of those surveyed. Another 38 percent say they are exploring alternative media and new routes to market, while 62 percent will be crunching customer data to improve segmentation and targeting. Most of this will be done in-house or by specialist firms and outsourced service providers in the digital marketing and customer analytics space. 

In addition, some 35 percent of marketers expect to initiate or undertake transformational marketing projects to improve go-to-market effectiveness in 2010. Another 19 percent say this is under consideration, and 8 percent report this has been proposed but not approved. Most common among the projects to be undertaken are:

  • Digital marketing makeover – platforms, programs people (46 percent)

  • Sales and marketing organizational alignment (40 percent)

  • Customer data integration and analytics (32 percent)

  • Marketing performance measurement (31 percent)

  • Lead qualification and harvesting system (28 percent)

  • Reorganization of marketing group (28 percent)

 "Globalization of markets and new channels of digital engagement are causing senior corporate marketers to seek new internal skills and capabilities, and re-direct spend towards more inventive and localized go-to-market programs," notes Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council. "The transformation of marketing organizations, practices and functions is well underway. This is being driven by the need to engage at an individual level, create more content relevance, and leverage a new world of crowd-sourcing Internet communities, omnipresent connectivity, and pervasive mobile device ownership."

Attesting to the growing shift to digital modes of engagement, 59 percent of marketers are looking to train and develop existing staff, 40 percent are adding or expanding digital marketing agency support, and 36 percent expect to bring in new talent resources to their organizations. Underscoring this, 72 percent of marketers anticipate no headcount reductions as they re-skill staff, and 18 percent expect to review web design and development resources. This compares to just eight percent who plan to do ad agency reviews, an all-time low, as marketer attention moves to the digital realm.

"Companies looking to improve their online capabilities must insure their online investments by staffing teams accordingly," said Morgan Stewart, Principle of the Research and Education Group at ExactTarget. "This can be challenging because people with a successful track record online are in short supply—and they know it. That’s why it is critical to find people who are not only good themselves, but have the ability to train others. They’re hard to find, but they’re worth their weight in gold."

When marketers were asked to rate their online marketing performance capability, only 6 percent responded excellent. The majority (44 percent) report they are either growing their capabilities, or struggling to quantify the value of online marketing spend. A further 15 percent say their ability to convert site visits to customer leads is deficient. In reviewing where digital marketing dollars are likely to be directed, 65 percent of respondents said they were evaluating investments in new social media and online communities, 44 percent in Internet media channels, 33 percent in mobile messaging, and 31 percent in new methods of online content delivery.

Management requirements for greater top-line growth in 2010 are reflected in how demand generation, sales support and advertising dollars are being directed. Largest shares are being allocated to database marketing (12.5 percent), sales collateral/literature (12 percent), trade shows and conferences (11.5 percent), and online advertising (7 percent). In contrast to 2009, most marketers are seeing their media budgets stay the same or increase slightly by five percent. Larger gains of over five percent are reflected in interactive/web marketing, social media, search marketing, SEO, and mobile communications areas.

Christine Cutten, a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLC notes, "The lens on marketing spend has been magnified and marketers will continue to be asked to do more with less and justify marketing investments. To deliver against these directives and enable growth, marketers are looking toward online and social marketing execution strategies."

"We are seeing increased activity in the marketplace around online channel integration and building digital competencies as online strategies increasingly become incorporated with overall enterprise strategies and consumer purchasing patterns change. Similarly, we have seen a push toward the development of multi-channel offerings that deliver the brand promise consistently across online, mobile, in-store, and traditional channels," Cutten added.

The CMO Council's annual Marketing Outlook study and State of Marketing report has become a reliable reference for senior marketers. There are now more than 5,000 in the CMO Council, controlling over $150 billion in annual marketing expenditures. This year’s report covers trends in strategic marketing progress and performance, the marketing plans of more than 600 survey participants, priorities and intentions of industry leaders. The State of Marketing assessment is also a bellwether of where marketing resources and expenditures will be allocated and applied in the year ahead.

The 2010 report, the fourth edition, has grown along with the CMO Council and is deeper, richer and more diverse than ever. Included in the 50-page report, which can be downloaded for $199 at, are the following areas of strategic interest:

  • Top accomplishments in the preceding year and management mandates for the year ahead

  • How current economic conditions and business factors and forces are impacting plans and budgets

  • Areas of expenditure and shifts in where and how marketing dollars are being allocated

  • Strategic initiatives and investments to increase marketing efficiency, proficiency and effectiveness

  • Evaluation and embrace of digital marketing systems, programs and alternative media channels

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 5,000 members control more than $150 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 12,000 global executives across 100 countries in 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), Marketing Supply Chain Institute, Customer Experience Board,, Online Marketing Performance Institute, and the Forum to Advance the Mobile Experience (FAME).