Marketers To Boost Digital Spend, Strategic Intiatives


Ad agencies, take note: while marketers say they are boosting budgets this year, marketing chiefs are looking for integration, alignment, visibility and (of course) ROI, per the CMO Council's fifth annual State of Marketing Report.

The Council, comprising 6,000 chief marketers in 110 countries controlling over $200 billion in annual spend, tapped over 600 of its members for the 2011 Outlook, Intentions and Investments report.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they plan to increase this year's spending, and 26% say they will boost budgets between 1 and 5%, with social media getting the biggest percentage gain, although digital media will likely be 10% of expenditures. Most of the marketers polled said they will increase social-media investments by over 5%. The report said other areas likely to see the same degree of investment increase are search, online video, online banner and mobile. To fund that increase, marketers said they will cut at least 5% from print magazines, newspapers, television and outdoor/billboard placements.



The study also says marketers plan to beef up analytics, strategic planning and business development. One in four said marketing spend is being influenced by a shift to digital media and online marketing effectiveness. The organization says participants come from each major global region, with 64% saying they reported directly to the CEO, president or COO, while another 14% said they were accountable to a regional VP, general manager or division/business group head. Among the respondents, 34% held CMO or head of marketing titles, while 33% are VP or above.

Only 5% of respondents give themselves high marks specific to current online marketing performance capabilities, and those surveyed said they plan to boost staff in interactive design, online advertising, search engine marketing, Web analytics, and integrated campaign management.

Among the strategies in the crosshairs, 64% said they will improve customer segmentation and targeting; 43% plan to boost digital demand-generation programs; 42% said lead-generation and tracking will be a focus; 41% said they will be "exploring alternative media and new routes to market."

But some strategies are getting downsized, including testing and piloting. This year only a quarter of those marketers surveyed said they will do heavy piloting. Only 18% said they will use online performance indicators like eMetrics, and only 15% said they would do statistical analysis and predictive modeling to measure impact.

There's a problem in all of this, according to Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council. And it looks a lot like a homeowner who eschews a contractor for piecemeal work that lacks coordination, and fills the house with people doing each other's work. "While marketers have been focused on transforming their operations and customer engagements with hosted services and digital solutions, many have actually created a grab bag of siloed point-solutions that just proliferate 'Random Acts of Marketing,'" he said in a release. "Today's successful marketing organization is unifying its extended ecosystem, aligning more effectively with business and sales groups, and integrating campaign components to drive efficiency and more measurable outcomes."

Some other findings: CMOs are having to do more work beyond the realm of brand stewardship, with many surveyed saying they are involved in strategic planning and forecasting, business development and collaborating, pricing, distribution/channel management, and product design and specification, as marketers are now expected to drive business growth and revenues. Forty-six percent said their purview includes driving top-line growth; 45% said they are responsible for growing and retaining market share; and 31% said they must handle "further crystallizing and defining brand value."

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