Today’s CMOs are faced with a multitude of challenges—new and changing technologies, fewer and fewer eyes on their ads and figuring out how to use the wealth of data available to target consumers.
Dentsu Aegis Network surveyed 1,000 CMOs globally about these challenges and how they can overcome them. Overwhelmingly, there’s a sense throughout the responses that change to how marketers do business is near and necessary but not happening rapidly enough. And the changes these marketers believe need to happen aren’t insignificant: 79% of marketers surveyed believe that marketing executives need to not only optimize company advertising (particularly when it comes to using new digital tools to drive it) but completely transform that end of the business.
But the knowledge that this sort of overhaul is necessary isn’t enough to spur action.
Almost half of the marketers surveyed said that the plans their teams have in place are set for the next two years—or less. And while 85% of those surveyed can identify the ideas and concepts that will help increase brand equity and consumer affinity, just over half believe they’re building on those sort of ideas right now. This is despite the fact that 73% of marketers believe that acting on those ideas is essential for growth moving forward, and that lack of long-term investment is viewed as the No. 1 barrier to delivering marketing strategy, closely followed by the inability to transform their marketing businesses quickly, according to the Dentsu survey.
“CMOs are very candid about the fact that there is a gap between their aspirations to drive marketing transformation and the day-to-day realities of driving business growth,” Dirk Herbert, chief strategy officer for Dentsu Aegis Network, said. “They are challenged to find the right balance between creating short-term ROI with existing marketing capabilities and investing in future marketing and business transformation.”
However, Herbert admits that marketers are often put in a tough position when it comes to balancing meeting short-term goals with planning for long-term growth. The short term is very often the stick by which they’re measured, which means that it often has to be the priority. Two-thirds of marketers said they expect pressure around hitting short-term goals to increase within the next few years. They’re also dealing with fewer dollars to do it all with: Marketing budgets are smaller this year compared to last, according to the survey.
Despite this, marketers seem to be aware of what is needed to move their businesses forward in the non-immediate future. Eighty percent believe marketing departments will need to take on more responsibility for product and service innovation over the next few years.
“It’s a dilemma because they are often being judged on quarterly growth and customer acquisition,” said Herbert. “Those are often the key metrics for success. At the same time, they are on the front lines when it comes to targeting and engaging customers. They see the radical changes at hand but often aren’t empowered, funded or staffed to move at the speed of change and bring the organization with them.”