Investment on the up as Asia Pacific Marketers Bank on a Data Dividend

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· Globally, 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. China stands out globally in CMOs outlook on the potential of artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain to drive more efficient marketing spend (40%)

· Innovation ranks bottom in terms of being identified as a key marketing role—putting the ability to meet the demands of the digital economy at risk. However a significant number of CMOs in China (63%) and Australia (56%) see marketing’s primary role as developing the overall customer experience.

31 July 2018. A major, global survey of 1,000 Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) and senior level marketers across 10 countries – including Australia, China and Japan in Asia Pacific – has revealed that marketing investment is on an upward curve, as marketing’s role as the primary ‘growth antennae’ for organisations is strengthened by the use of data. CMOs are in a unique position to turn consumer insight into the next commercial opportunity and new sources of revenue. 

 Dentsu Aegis Network’s ‘CMO Survey 2018’, found that six in 10 marketers globally expect marketing budgets to rise in the next 12 months. However, it is the marketing budget increases among larger corporates that stands 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. 

Amongst all countries surveyed, we see the strongest disparities in Asia Pacific: Japan (35%) displayed lowest confidence in an increase in marketing budget while China (75%) showed the highest confidence. 

However, 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

The evolution of marketing data towards real people, building on digital proxies or broad customer segment data, is identified as the number one strategic opportunity for CMOs over the next two to three years, with 80% of CMOs also recognising its importance to effective customer engagement.

However, the findings also reveal a substantial degree of caution. Suffering a data breach is now the leading strategic risk identified, while a high proportion of respondents in Australia (63%) compared to China (53%) and Japan (47%), believe that data protection legislation such as GDPR will make it harder to build direct relationships with consumers.

Digital commerce shaping how marketers approach partners and suppliers 

Investment is expected to rise, but the survey reveals changing priorities, reflecting the increased focus data as an enabler of growth. Investment in digital media, in-housing of marketing capability and a growing role for specialists are all high on the investment agenda.

Innovation being over-looked?

Just over one-third of CMOs identify “leading disruptive innovation” as one of their core functional priorities. China CMOs (35%) lead the rankings amongst Asia Pacific CMOs, while Australia (32%) and Japan (31%) are closer in their perception of this functional priority. 

Arvind Sethumadhavan, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer at Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific said:

“There’s a clear shift, as senior marketers adapt to a digital economy characterised by customer-led demand and an appetite for delivering a superior customer experience for their businesses. CMOs are aware of the need to embrace digital transformation that orientates around a deep understanding of customers to deliver business growth. 

“In Asia Pacific, we particularly see the opportunity for marketers to leverage data to secure long-term customer relationships. The diversity of the region is another factor that increases the need for Asia Pacific CMOs to ensure they are able to deliver a consistent brand narrative targeting real people. This has strong potential to transform marketing’s role as the architect of a business’ long-term vision.”

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