May 31, 2023
The CMO Council’s new report Outsmart Adversity tackles pressing problems as marketing faces economic headwinds. Can you balance investments across brand and demand? Can you clearly and persuasively articulate marketing’s value? Most importantly, when the weather clears, will you be ready for growth? Here’s an excerpt of the report:
With looming economic headwinds, this year will test marketing’s mettle. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of confidence among marketing leaders that they can weather the storm, let alone emerge in a position for growth.
Our study found that 2 in 3 are only moderately confident or worse in their ability to handle economic adversity and uncertainty against their revenue growth mandate.
This is a key finding in our report on how marketers can outsmart adversity. Marketers will have to build alliances with finance and IT to protect budgets and MarTech investments, and they’ll need to identify and shore up capabilities to build their confidence.
Where Confidence Comes From
Our report found that highly confident marketing leaders perform considerably better than their less confident counterparts in several marketing capabilities, such as:
• Balancing investments across brand and demand
• Articulating marketing’s value to impact revenue
• Leveraging data analytics to become more predictive
• Growing loyalty, retention and customer lifetime value
• Consolidating MarTech and leveraging AI for omnichannel CX
What Lies Ahead
The good news is that marketers don’t expect a bludgeoning of the marketing budget, which has been the case in previous economic downturns. Nor are they bracing for a pullback in MarTech investment.
In years past, threats of an economic downturn triggered deep marketing budget cuts — thankfully, this doesn’t appear to be the case today. Our findings show 36% of marketing budgets actually increasing this year, compared to 33% decreasing and 31% staying the same.
So what’s happening?
There’s growing evidence that companies are starting to see the connection between marketing activities and revenue growth. In an earlier study, the CMO Council found 9 in 10 marketers are expected to grow revenue. Along these lines, McKinsey says 78% of CEOs are banking on marketing to drive growth.
MarTech investments also show similar resiliency to marketing budgets with 36% increasing, 25% decreasing and 39% staying the same. The latter is a sign that marketers still need to demonstrate strong ROI on their current MarTech plans and initiatives.
Increases in marketing budget and MarTech investment will likely be focused on engaging the cash-strapped consumer. This means orchestrating customer journeys to drive an omnichannel CX, leveraging AI and data to be more predictive, and improving loyalty and retention efforts. (For more, see “Smart Planning, Smart Tech,” pg. 11.)
Outsmart Adversity is a based on a survey of nearly 500 global marketing leaders across industries and geographies. Among job titles, 32% are SVP/EVP of marketing, 31% CMOs, and 20% VP of marketing (or digital). Nearly 30% of respondents come from companies with $1B to $5B in estimated annual 2023 revenue, and 28% from companies with more than $5B. Download the full report.
Tom Kaneshige is the Chief Content Officer at the CMO Council. He creates all forms of digital thought leadership content that helps growth and revenue officers, line of business leaders, and chief marketers succeed in their rapidly evolving roles. You can reach him at email@example.com.
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