Thoughts on the Latest CMO Survey

1125px-San_marcos_bullfight_01CMOs are bullish. Indeed, they’re more optimistic than they’ve been in 6 years. What does this mean, and why should we care?

According to The CMO Survey, marketing leaders’ feelings about the U.S. economy as a whole are 46% more optimistic than February 2009 (on a scale of 1-100). On top of that, some indicators they see improving in the next year are customer acquisition; customer growth in the form of increased volume, purchase of products/services; customer retention; and new customers entering the market. Finally, factors like superior product quality, excellent service, and a trusting relationship with companies will trump price, they say (further evidence that people will pay a premium for premium service).

Marketing budget implications
These same leaders say marketing budgets will increase 8.7% in the next year, with digital marketing specifically up 14.7%. At the same time, spending on traditional advertising will drop 1.1%. In the next 3 years, budgets for mobile will nearly triple, while those for social media will be up 126% in 5 years. And maybe to make sense of all this increased spending and activity, analytics’ share of marketing budgets will almost double in 3 years.

Who are these optimistic spenders?
CMO Survey got responses from 288 “top U.S. marketers at Fortune 1000, Forbes Top 200, and top marketers who are AMA members or Duke University alumni and friends.” 84.3% held positions of VP-level or above, indicating likely familiarity with company budgets and trends.

How growth will happen
Internal growth takes the lion’s share of growth spending in the next year (76%), with partnerships, acquisitions and licensing as 10% or less of the remaining.

Why should marketers be excited?
Several reasons:

1.) For brands, bigger marketing budgets means more playgrounds to explore, software to license or resources to create exceptional content.

2.) The optimism might also signal bigger spending capabilities among potential B2B customers who need your product/service, humble marketer. After all, if marketing budgets are expanding as significantly as they are, these companies likely are doing well overall and looking to capitalize on growth with cash to spare.

3.) More social media activities are being performed by outside agencies than last year. This probably makes both parties happier: The brands benefit from a diversity of strategies and outside intelligence, while brand marketers get assistance with managing the sometimes complex integration of channels and demands of instant communication.

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Check out Fathom’s content brand voice questionnaire (Microsoft Word) to give yourself reason to be optimistic about your communication strategy.

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“San marcos bullfight 01” image by Tomas Castelazo via Wikimedia Commons.

Paul Richlovsky

About Paul Richlovsky

Paul brings a writing and teaching background to his decade-long marketing career. He advises clients on content strategy and editorial direction. He is an enthusiastic marketing automation practitioner and active member of the Cleveland Marketo User Group. He has written/edited multiple marketing guides, including those aimed at healthcare, higher education, financial services, B2C brands and manufacturing audiences. With a BA in English from the College of Wooster, he is also the author of a collection of poetry, "Under the Lunar Neon."He is particularly interested in usability, digital governance, ballroom dancing, bachata, racquet sports, and romping with his niece and nephews.

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