Salesforce Study Says CMOs Are Driving Revenue

Chief marketers today are riding bicycles while patching the tires. A new CMO study by Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud with the CMO Club surveyed 228 CMOs or marketing leaders around the world, all reporting to CEOs, to get their take on challenges, shortfalls and tactics. 

The study points to three major priorities for 2014, internally and externally. Internally, marketers are focusing on data acquisition, testing and optimization, and flexible and agile marketing processes. Externally, the top three priorities are customer acquisition, personalized experiences, and customer engagement. Respondents said Web personalization and marketing automation will be key. 

The study also found that digital spend has increased this year versus last. In 2013, 45% of respondents said their spend was between 5% and 20% of budget, with 35% saying it was between 20% and 40% of budget. This year the former has dropped to 38%, while the latter has leaped to 43%. Also up is the percentage of respondents who said their digital budget is above 40%.

Marketers also said their roles have expanded. Fifty-three percent of respondents said they felt an increased pressure to enable revenue growth -- making this the biggest change to their teams’ responsibilities over the past few years, and 27% of surveyed CMOs affirmed that they have increased ownership to align internal functions (like product, sales and customer service) to deliver impact. 

"It is so much more than marketing now," said Lynn Vojvodich, EVP and CMO of Salesforce.com, speaking at this week's AdAge digital forum. "When a customer comes through one of our channels they don't care if you are in marketing or sales they just want one consistent brand experience with you. As marketers we need to be stewards of that journey. The new CMO is all about owning customer experience."

She said a quarter of CMOs the firm interviewed reported that they are more involved in customer service. "More and more are taking on that role. It used to be call centers and service, and how do we shorten that call time."

And while over half of respondents said metrics are critical, they said they haven't figured out internally what the right metric is. Over one-third said marketing-qualified leads is the right metric, but haven't figured out how marketing-qualified leads become sales-qualified, so the value of that metric is unclear.

The three top metrics: 56% said ROI; 42% said engagement rates such as opens and clicks; 39% said conversion; and 36% marketing-qualified leads.

Over half said the growth of digital marketing requires a greater need for data/analytics personnel; 43% greater ownership of customer facing teams; 38% said that with greater responsibility for digital comes greater responsibility for customer service and the entire customer experience via social media, call center, or a similar function. But nearly a quarter feel underprepared to manage major customer service touchpoints.

Respondents were limited to CMO or head of marketing positions reporting to a CEO, president, or country/line of business head. Forty-two percent belong to companies with revenue over $1 billion.

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