Investment on the up as global marketers bank on a data dividend

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  • A global survey of 1,000 CMOs, including 100 in Australia, has found that marketing spend is expected to increase across most markets and industry verticals. Technology CMOs are mostly likely to be increasing their budgets; food & beverage and automotive CMOs are most likely to be cutting their budgets 
  • While short term budgets are generally increasing, securing long-term investment is the biggest challenge facing CMOs in the delivery of their strategy 
  • Within that context, using data to target real people is the #1 strategic opportunity for CMOs — but a data breach is also the #1 risk 
  • 61% of marketers in Australia reported that while more data is available, it is harder to extract insight 
  • Innovation ranks bottom as a key marketing role — putting the ability to meet the demands of the digital economy at risk

1 August 2018. A major, global survey of 1,000 CMOs and senior-level marketers across ten countries has revealed that marketing investment is on an upward curve, as marketing’s role as the primary ‘growth antenna’ for organisations is strengthened by the use of data. 

Indicating CMOs are in a unique position to turn consumer insight into the next commercial opportunity and new sources of revenue, Dentsu Aegis Network’s report How Brands Win in the Digital Economy: CMO Survey 2018, found that six in ten marketers expect marketing budgets to rise in the next 12 months.  

But it’s budget increases among larger corporates that stand out, with 43% of respondents planning for increases of 5% or more and just one in 20 expecting to see budgets fall. Confidence is highest among technology, automotive and financial services CMOs.  

The survey also suggests CMOs are facing significant challenges as they attempt to balance the opportunity to build new capabilities and enhance their role, with the risks and challenges driven by data and the digital economy. 

Opportunities in data tempered with caution 

CMOs in Australia cite insufficient control over digital investments or programs across the company as the biggest obstacle to delivering their marketing strategy. Lack of integration across all elements of the customer experience ranked as the second biggest internal challenge, followed by an inability to transform the business quickly enough. 

71% of Australian CMOs identify the evolution of data usage to reach real people as the biggest strategic opportunity over the next 2-3 years. Data was also recognised as presenting challenges, with 68% of Australian CMOs agreeing that, although there is now more consumer data available, extracting insight is harder. 

Content is still King for many, with 72% of local marketers identifying high quality content development as a key priority for their business. 

Geared to deliver growth 

Australians respondents view the primary role of the marketing function as ‘delivering business growth’ – expanding on this to say that securing long-term customer relationships is the strongest way that marketing can achieve this. 

However, the way brands connect with customers is critical, with consumers’ intolerance for advertising identified as a major barrier to building better relationships with customers over the next 2-3 years in Australia. 

Making a broader social contribution was recognised as less of a priority locally, with only 60% of Australian CMOs identifying ‘connecting our brand proposition to positive societal impact’ as important, compared with 70% globally. 

Simon Ryan, CEO at Dentsu Aegis Network in Australia and New Zealand said: 

“The outlook in Australia is largely positive, with marketers geared for growth and looking to build on the marketing function’s role in delivering business outcomes. The importance of working with the right partners to drive growth is reinforced also, with the complexities of data and the digital economy requiring specialist capability to maximise opportunities.” 

“It’s interesting to note that Australian marketers identify consumers’ intolerance for advertising as a major barrier to building better relationships with customers. As an industry we need to come up with new ways to engage consumers, and leverage data to overcome this by ensuring messages are genuinely relevant to the audience.”

Nigel Morris, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at Dentsu Aegis Network said:

“There’s a clear shift, as senior marketers adapt to a digital economy characterised by customer-led demand, near perfect competition and where competitive advantage rests in how well you know your customers. CMO perspectives are moving away from short-term investment in tech, apps and platforms, towards what really matters – digital transformation that orientates the whole business around customers.  

“Data is central to creating deeper customer relationships and understanding, and the most successful marketers have recognised that the key to strategic business growth is in their hands. This has the potential to transform marketing’s role as the architect of a business’s long-term vision.”