Global CMOs Appreciating the Rise in Status but Feeling the Pressure, Says a Study by NewBase

The Report, Titled The Evolving Marketer, Shows That CMOs Feel Their Status Has Risen as Marketing’s Value in Driving Revenue Has Come to the Fore

NewBase, the marketing and advertising consultancy, recently launched its latest report “The Evolving Marketer”. This global study of senior marketing leaders reveals five key themes firmly on the CMO agenda: revenue generation, customer experience, data, content and processes.

  • Only four in ten CMOs are going to increase advertising spend but three quarters (72%) are growing budget in content marketing.
  • 80% of senior global marketers are going to spend more on data but only a quarter claim to be making full use of the data they have access to.
  • Only three percent of global CMOs think they currently have the perfect internal skill set in place and just a third are not looking to bring more services back in-house

NewBase spoke to 120 global CMOs and asked them about their views on everything from where budgets were increasing to how they used data and good their team is. The report shows that CMOs feel their status has risen as marketing’s value in driving revenue has come to the fore.

Also Read: Brands Demand Greater Accountability on Media Spend, says NewBase Marketing Priorities Report

Here are some of the findings:

Go for growth

82% of CMOs think that marketing’s influence has increased internally.

Business growth is a given and driving this is undoubtedly a core part of the marketing leader’s remit, as underlined by the move to rename CMOs ‘Chief Growth Officers’. The emphasis on revenue is keenly felt by senior marketers with over eight in ten (82%) of CMOs saying the role has become more financial results focused. Almost two thirds (63%) of marketing leaders say their key priority is going to be driving growth for the business. With this concentration on the bottom line, it is only natural that the status of marketing should have risen.

Global CMOs Appreciating the Rise in Status but Feeling the Pressure, Says a Study by NewBaseCustomer minded

It is understandable that those focussed on growth are going to turn their attention to understanding customers’ needs to see if there are any issues to be addressed or processes to be streamlined. One in two CMOs have looked at the consumer journey top of their to-do-list and almost half (44%) of marketing leaders also say that they are going to ensure a customer-centric model is in play. Two-thirds of global CMOs state marketing decisions should be based on how they impact the customer rather than the business.

It’s all about the data

With the heightened focus on both the customer and growth, data is more important than ever. One in two senior marketers says currently they have budgetary control for data and analytics. However, this is set to grow, as more than 80% of CMOs are saying they are getting more money to invest in data. This budget will no doubt be gratefully received as more than three quarters state data management and analytics is taking up more of their time. But simply having more data available does not necessarily mean that it can be used effectively.

Also Read: Why Contact Centers Are Critical to Omnichannel Marketing Strategies

Data mountain

Global CMOs highlight over half the data available to the business is not being used to its fullest potential and three quarters agree they are only able to use a small portion of the data they have at hand. This is an opportunity for senior marketers, with over nine out of ten (92%) saying that creative and analytics need to work more closely to drive business success. With the budget offered for data increasing but over half of all data not being used to its full potential, there is scope for CMOs to marry the ‘magic and the maths’ using brand awareness advertising, story-telling and experiential with data to drive revenue.

Global CMOs Appreciating the Rise in Status but Feeling the Pressure, Says a Study by NewBaseIn/Out

Two-thirds of CMOs are moving towards more in-house marketing services, but only 3% say they currently have the perfect skill set internally. Marketing bosses looking to bring more functions in-house are challenged by both budget and team capabilities.

Just under one in two CMOs have good internal team capability, and 68% say that it is essential to have people on board who are skilled enough to evolve with technology developments. However, due to the martech explosion and dramatic growth of digital marketing and programmatic advertising, more than half of CMOs (55%) state they have an internal skills shortage.

With the skills gap and implied talent scarcity it looks as if outsourcing suppliers (agencies, martech vendors, etc.) is still going to be essential in ensuring CMOs can deliver on their objectives.
The results reveal that 43% of CMOs still entirely outsource programmatic, which is the highest fully outsourced function. Over a third of senior marketers outsource advertising (36%), and over a quarter fully outsource creative and design, and research and insight (both 28%).

Key elements such as marketing strategy, pricing and product marketing as well as customer experience tend to be handled in-house. Among the top 15 areas where marketing leaders have budget responsibility, marketing strategy is the number one function delivered entirely in-house (86%), followed by product marketing (76%) and customer experience (75%).

Also Read: CMOs Struggling To Meet Needs Of Local Audiences And Geographies With Adaptive Marketing Creative, Says New CMO Council Study

Global CMOs Appreciating the Rise in Status but Feeling the Pressure, Says a Study by NewBase


While CMOs overall say they have to achieve more with less, there are some functions where involvement is already high and budgets are increasing, along with the time investment required by marketing. Marketing leaders are expecting to spend more on digital, content marketing and social in the short term with three quarters of marketing leaders allocating increased budget to these channels. They are also expecting the time that they have to invest in these functions to increase along similar lines. These are described as ‘Progressive marketing functions’.

For more ‘Established marketing functions’ such as marketing strategy, advertising, branding, PR, design and product marketing, while a minority of CMOs are anticipating budget rises, the majority are not. Four in ten senior marketers are envisaging advertising spend increase, one in two are forecasting a rise in branding investment and almost 40% are going to spend more on design. Just under half are also looking to invest more in communications and PR in the next year.

There are some ‘Evolving functions’ where currently CMOs are seeing their expertise called upon, and alongside this, budgets increased. Customer experience, customer service, e-commerce, data and research are now increasingly important too. However, because these areas are not solely marketing’s remit the CMO does not presently have total budget control over these, but this is likely to change.

Three-quarters of CMOs say they will receive more budget for customer service and a similar proportion are expecting an increase in customer experience.

Also Read: CMOs Own Initiatives in Customer Experience; Focus Sharply Moving Towards No-Screen Engagement

The influence of time

“The Evolving Marketer” reveals significant variations in the global CMO agenda based on length of tenure. Those in their roles for over five years, the established CMOs, are firmly entrenched, their priorities (bar driving growth) are very different from more recent CMOs (under five years’ tenure). One in two established CMOs is focussing on building internal collaboration (45%) and perfecting the customer experience (47%).

More recent CMOs (under five years) are still in the set-up stage for their role and thus focussing on sorting out infrastructures, putting new systems and processes in place and creating models to exploit the data they have access to.

Newer CMOs are emphasizing the customer journey (57%) vs. only 39% of established CMOs and creating a customer model that aligns with business strategy (52% vs. 33%). Using data to its fullest potential is prioritized by half (49%) of recent CMOs as opposed to only a third (35%) of established CMOs.

Revenue and accountability are prioritized almost three times as much by established CMOs compared to newer marketers (41% vs. 17%).

Global CMOs Appreciating the Rise in Status but Feeling the Pressure, Says a Study by NewBase

Making an impact

84% of newer CMOs claim it takes less than five years to really make a difference, whereas only half (49%) of established CMOs think the same.

Mike Jeanes

Mike Jeanes, global head of insight, NewBase comments, “Over the past few years the CMO’s remit has escalated significantly from a largely promotions and creative role to becoming the centralised lift-shaft of the business, servicing every level and function of the organisation, and providing the data-driven connection between the brand and the consumer. The role of the CMO is varied and complex. They are increasingly challenged to drive business growth and adjust their resources to keep up with industry change and consumer demands.”

Also Read: How Marketers Can Optimize $682 Billion in Expected Spend in 2018

Survey Approach

The Evolving Marketer is an online global survey among 120 CMOs in over 20 markets exploring the role of the CMO, and the changing marketing landscape. The survey was undertaken by Synergy Research and Consulting and fielded between November 2017 and January 2018.

All respondents are senior brand marketers with budgetary responsibility working across a range of sectors with 40% in finance, technology or retail. 53% of respondents are female with the average age 46. A quarter work in b2b organizations 35% b2c, and 40% work for businesses covering both. 57% of all respondents work for larger organizations (250+ employees) and 43% for SMEs (under 250 employees) and on average, they have been in their current role for just over 5 years.

In this report, the CMO term generically refers to a company’s top marketing leader.

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