Study: Marketer Confidence Rises Despite Concerns Over Misaligned Investments

The American Marketing Association 2017 Marketers Confidence Index increased by six points from a year ago, to 69 out of 100 possible points. Despite the slight rise, 30% of marketers said they’re more concerned that their organizations aren’t investing in the right customers, a 13% decrease in confidence compared to the 2016 findings.

The biannual survey, released by the American Marketing Association (AMA) in partnership with Kantar Vermeer, a global marketing consultancy, measures the degree of optimism on the state of the economy that U.S. marketers expressed through their spending and growth.

The study also found that 32% of marketers had confidence in their teams’ ability to understand the ROI of marketing plans. That’s 11% lower than the prior year’s findings, when confidence was at 43%. Only 25% of survey respondents said their teams have the right tools and processes in place, an 8% decline from 2016.

The Index also shed light on areas where CMOs need to prepare for the future, including knowing more about emerging digital technologies and analytics, and how larger organizations can communicate as effectively as smaller ones.  Marketers were most excited about new digital tools to support social media, personalization, marketing automation, and augmented reality. Marketers are also hoping to more effectively demonstrate the value they’re extracting from marketing initiatives around analytics, data, and innovation.

“Marketing teams are going through a period of reinvention and questioning whether their organization is on the right track to understand and engage customers,” Adam Corey, ‎VP, Marketing at Tealium, a provider of real-time data solutions, and a member of the AMA, told RTBlog via email. “Understanding which customers are right for your brand, and the ability to personalize ads, is easier than some marketers expect. The answer lies in using a centralized data system to gain a single view of a consumer. Brands need to build a universal data strategy that spans the entire customer lifetime and marketing teams are best placed to lead this charge.”

Among the survey’s insights:

--86% of marketers under the age of 35 are optimistic about the power and influence of marketing in an organization over the next few years, while only 56% of marketers age 56 and older feel confident.

--78% of marketers 35 and under are confident that organizations should be making investments right now, while only 59% of marketers ages 36 to 45 believe now was a good time. But this growing optimism from younger marketers hasn’t yet resulted in bigger budgets.

--More marketers are expecting to increase budgets in the next six months. For example, 36% of marketers expect a rise, up 8% from Q2 2016. By contrast, in January 2016, 22% of respondents believed their marketing budgets would decrease.

--Marketing budget allocation remained stable, but when it comes to budget cuts, 24% of respondents said they would reduce their media placement budget, but only 4% would cut their analytics budget.

The Marketers Confidence Index is based on an online survey conducted by Kantar Vermeer in December 2016, among a sample of 304 marketers across the U.S.

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