Marketers face tougher metrics & accountability
The strategies that marketers seeking greater visibility and accountability are prioritising include digital marketing effectiveness, social media integration, measurement, alignment, and return on investment (ROI), according to the CMO Council's latest 'State of Marketing' report, sponsored by Deloitte and OpenText.
Currently at most risk are those agencies and resources failing to bring 'value-added thinking', innovation, or technical knowledge to the table, the report says. Among their top priorities at the moment, marketers said they intend to add a 'killer combination of marketing analytics talent and strategic planning and business development experience to better target, segment and act on growth opportunities.
The survey on which the annual report was based extracted a range of insights and views from every major world region, specific to marketing mandates, spending, intentions and frustrations. Almost 64% of respondents said they reported directly to the CEO, president or COO, while another 14% said they were accountable to a regional vice president, general manager or division/business group head. Among the respondents, 34% held CMO or Head of Marketing titles, while 33% held roles of Vice President or above.
Having felt the sting of flat or tight budgets over the past two years, marketing spend is being influenced by a shift to digital media and online marketing effectiveness, according to one in four marketers surveyed. However, only five percent of respondents give themselves high marks specific to current online marketing performance capabilities. To bolster capabilities, marketers surveyed are planning headcount increases in interactive design, online advertising, search engine marketing, web analytics, and integrated campaign management.
Cost cutting and operational efficiencies are also an important mandate for marketers participating in this survey. Specifically, some 64% of respondents will move to improve customer segmentation and targeting. In addition, according to the respondents, steps being taken to manage impact and value of marketing in 2011 include:
- Investing in digital demand generation programmes (43%);
- Further qualifying and tracking the conversion of leads (42%);
- Exploring alternative media and new routes to market (41%);
- Upgrading the calibre and performance of the marketing organisation (29%).
Interestingly, in lean budget years, marketers depended on testing and piloting campaigns to analyse potential modelling. In 2011, only one in four marketers surveyed plan on heavily piloting programmes. Yet, marketers participating in this survey also indicate they will not be looking at programmes that analyse or measure performance more effectively as only 18% plan to leverage eMetrics and other online performance indicators, only 15% will conduct statistical analysis and predictive modelling to measure impact, and only 12% will implement closed loop systems to monitor acquisition impact and effectiveness.
"While marketers have been focused on transforming their operations and customer engagements with hosted services and digital solutions, many have actually created a grab bag of siloed point-solutions that just proliferate 'Random Acts of Marketing'," said Donovan Neale-May, executive director for the CMO Council. "Today's successful marketing organisation is unifying its extended ecosystem, aligning more effectively with business and sales groups, and integrating campaign components to drive efficiency and more measurable outcomes."
Marketing, as a function, also continues to reach beyond the borders of branding. CMOs surveyed indicated a growing authority in high-value areas, such as strategic planning and forecasting (74%), business development and collaborating (46%), pricing (36%), distribution/channel management (36%), and product design and specification (27%). This growing span of authority matches the rising expectations on the head of marketing to driving business growth and revenues. Among the top deliverables for marketing are driving top-line growth (46%), growing and retaining market share (45%), and further crystallizing and defining brand value (31%).
Cost cutting and operational efficiencies are also specific management mandate for marketers polled. In order to increase the impact and value of marketing, 64% of respondents say they will move to improve customer segmentation and targeting. This will be critical as marketers responding to the survey are also looking to further invest in digital demand generation programmes (43%), further qualify and track the conversion of leads (42%), and explore alternative media and new routes to market (41%).
"Companies are focused on operational efficiencies. To improve ROI, we are seeing marketers leverage technologies to collect and analyse data, zeroing in on improved marketing performance," said Christine Cutten, principal for Deloitte Consulting. "Early adopters are already leveraging advanced marketing analytics to help manage customers, markets and channels. But, as marketing evolves, we will likely see more use of advanced marketing analytics integrated into the marketing operational platform to enable delivery of optimized marketing strategies."
Marketers were also positive about budgets, as 57% indicated an increase in spending for 2011. In fact, 26% of marketers planned to boost budgets between one and five percent. While digital marketing and channel engagement will be drivers for marketers, digital media spend will likely represent less than 10% of expenditures, according to half of the respondents. Social media will likely be the biggest beneficiary of marketing allotments over 2010, with a majority of marketers increasing investments by over five percent. Other areas that may see greater than 5% increases in spend include:
- Search Marketing;
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO);
- Online Video;
- Online Banner;
Media bracing for cuts greater than five percent included print magazines, newspapers, television and outdoor/billboard placements.
Marketers said they intend to focus more attention on better measurement, as well as yield and monitoring of social media investments. Top platforms to be deployed over the year will include social network or online community building (35%), social media monitoring and data mining (34%), and social network and online sentiment tracking. In addition, investments will more likely be made to deploy lead management, campaign management, and web performance and collaboration systems.
The full '2011 State of Marketing' report has been made available for purchase (US$199) directly from the CMO Council web site - click here.