CMO focus for 2019

CMO Focus for 2019: What’s Ahead [Report]

In CMO/Marketing by Shelly KramerLeave a Comment

CMO focus for 2019

Marketing leaders are facing new challenges, with eight in ten considering their role has broadened, and more than one in four saying the changes have been significant. No surprise then that having the right talent to meet these challenges is the CMO focus for 2019, as they look to drive organic growth in their organizations.

These conclusions come from the latest CMO Survey by Duke University business professor Christine Moorman. The study, which takes a twice-yearly dip into the thoughts of marketing leaders, questioned more than 300 executives, most at VP level or above, to find out more about their priorities and plans for the future. Let’s take a closer look at what they had to say and what the CMO focus for 2019 includes.

The Changing Role of the CMO

CMOs are emerging from the marketing silo and taking on more broad responsibilities across the board. At a time when CMOs say they are feeling less pressure to prove the value of marketing, the study concludes this is a trend that’s likely to continue as they assume greater responsibility across all aspects of the business. Marketing is a key business driver for any organization, of any size, and in any vertical, and it appears as though that is finally starting to be accepted by senior leaders.

The use of marketing analytics, where spending is forecast to increase more than 200 percent over the next three years, is seen as being key to delivering these new responsibilities.  CMOs report they still have some big obstacles to overcome in implementing and scaling marketing analytics.

  • More than half (56 percent) said they lack the tools and processes to measure marketing analytics impact
  • Survey respondents said they currently only use data 36 percent of the time when it’s available, suggesting a lack of relevance in much of the data collected
  • Almost half (48 percent) of CMOs surveyed said they have a lack of trained MarTech professionals
  • Marketing analytics training programs ranked lowest compared to other marketing capabilities.

Talent recruitment is identified as the top priority, with a need for diverse marketing skills, particularly in creativity, leadership abilities, MarTech experience, and data science. Report author Christine Moorman described the twin-pronged approach CMOs will need at the Wall Street Journal, “Looking forward, CMOs’ attention will likely be split between attracting the best talent and implementing the best technology. As they move along that path, it will be valuable to view training as a critical investment to rejuvenate capabilities, energize their workforce, and position marketing departments for a broader role in company growth.”

If you want to learn more about the changing role of today’s CMO you might find this related post from my partner Daniel Newman of interest: 8 Habits of Today’s Successful Digitally Transformed CMO.

Digital Marketing Spending

Spending on digital marketing is set to continue to outpace more traditional advertising methods, with an anticipated increase of 12.3 percent over the next year, making this another thing the CMO focus for 2019 will include.  At a time of slowing overall growth in marketing budgets, digital is expected to grab a greater share, winning more than half (54 percent) over the next five years. B2B service providers and those with less than $25 million annual revenue are forecast to be the most digital over the next five years, with the communications and media sector standing out as the top industry sector

Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of respondents indicated their use of online customer data had increased over the last two years, with seven in ten saying they expected further increases in the next two years. Writing at Duke Fuqua Christine Moorman does raise an important issue concerning privacy saying, “Privacy concerns do not, however, loom as large as they should, with only 10 percent of firms very worried about their use of online or third-party customer data. While toeing the line on privacy concerns, marketers should probably focus on gaining a competitive advantage with data collected from customers online before any regulations may be introduced.”

Social Media Impact

Spending on social media marketing is increasing, both in real terms and as a percentage of the overall marketing budget. That upward trend looks set to continue and even accelerate with CMOs reporting a forecast spending increase of 66 percent, and an increase in marketing budget share from a current 13.8 percent to 22.9 percent over the next 5 years. CMO focus for 2019 will surely include social media marketing.

Businesses are also improving in their ability to demonstrate the impact of social media, with almost a quarter saying they can prove the impact quantitatively, compared to less than 15 percent just 4 years ago.

And yet there are still signs that indicate social media marketing hasn’t yet achieved its full potential.

  • The level of integration of social media marketing into the overall marketing strategy remains level
  • The total contribution from social media to sales revenues has failed to increase significantly
  • The percentage of social media activity from outside agencies has increased significantly over the last year, back to the same level seen in 2015.

If you would like to take a deeper dive into how AI is influencing social media marketing, try this related article at our Converge media site: How AI Tools are Improving Social Media Marketing Effectiveness.

A brief mention for mobile where marketing budgets are expected to double over the next three years, taking mobile’s share of the marketing budget to 19 percent (from just seven percent in 2015). At the same time, the report points out, the contributions of mobile to overall performance shows little improvement.

There appears to be scope, and a pressing need, to increase the impact of higher social media and mobile marketing budgets in terms of sales revenue contribution. At a time of great change, the pressure is on the CMO to harness the best talent and technology to do just that.

CMO Focus for 2019 Report

You can find a lot more detail about what lies ahead for marketing leaders and what the CMO focus for 2019 will be by accessing the full report at The CMO Survey: Fall 2018 Report and by viewing this Infographic.

The original version of this article was first published on V3Broadsuite.

Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”

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