CMOs Bring Optimistic Outlook into 2013

While budgets and agency partnerships continue to cause angst, enhanced strategies and technological improvements have CMOs looking toward 2013 with hope and anticipation.

With 2012 rapidly coming to an end, everyone must take the time to reflect and look forward to what 2013 may hold. For chief marketers, the past year has conjured up great momentum for the new year that lies ahead. The CMO Council's "State of Marketing 2012" report explores the average CMO's plan for the coming year and insights into how CMOs' continual efforts have laid the groundwork for improved strategies and technological advancements. The study, which polled more than 550 heads of marketing, communications, and customer engagement in North America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, focuseson job status, strategic priorities, and the challenges that lie ahead.

As Liz Miller, CMO Council vice president of operations and marketing programs, highlights, "Marketing has come into its own and will head into 2013 with a renewed sense of confidence and security-and with increased budgets! Only 11 percent of senior marketing executives felt their jobs were at risk, 39 percent feel they are fairly compensated, and 82 percent feel the goals and mandates set out by management are realistic and attainable. Fifty-four percent of respondents anticipate budget increases in the next 12 months, with much of that boost heading to digital platforms. But, despite this optimism, there is concern over digital marketing performance as only 18 percent of respondents feel they are excellent at driving digital value, return, and efficiency."

The following statistics examine where CMOs currently stand and how they plan to move forward in 2013:

  • More than 50 percent of marketers saw increased 2012 budgets, while 22 percent saw budget reductions, and 24 percent saw no change in spend over 2011.
  • While nearly 50 percent of respondents expect to hire new talent in the coming year, 19 percent expect to cut staff in 2012.
  • Nearly 60 percent expect to make an agency change in connection with their social marketing, web design, and PR efforts due to their lack of innovation. Only 12 percent of senior marketers view their current agency partners as extremely valuable, while 47 percent believe these agencies are average, underperforming, or not producing at all.
  • Email remains the top digital marketing technique (41 percent), while website performance optimization (34 percent) and mobile applications (33 percent) have also been a priority.
  • Digital marketing makeovers have become the top transformational project for 50 percent of CMOs, for only 18 percent rank their current digital marketing performance as excellent or good. Dashboard deployment for marketing performance measurement (39 percent), and sales and marketing organizational alignment (39 percent) will continue to gain momentum in the coming year.
  • CMOs are also making strides toward implementing successful organizational and operational changes, such as improving alignment and integration with sales and channel groups (48 percent), and incorporating the addition of new digital media and interactive marketing talent (35 percent).

Key takeaway: According to the survey results, 77 percent of those senior marketers polled earn a base salary of $100,000-$349,000, with 42 percent anticipating a bonus by the end of the year. However, 38 percent still believe they are not fairly compensated for their work. Yet, when all is said and done, insufficient budget remains the greatest source of aggravation. In this time of economic uncertainty, cuts have been made and spend has been reallocated, but those at the top of the company ladder continue to profit even as their strategies struggle. When working in a collaborative environment, all those involved must accept there will be some give and take. Pay cuts are certainly not ideal at any level, but by setting the example, senior level executives have the power to change company culture and attitude-a move that will be even more profitable in the end.