CMOs Say Transformation Goals Stymied By Short-Term Growth Priorities

Dentsu Aegis Network is out with a new global study of CMOs saying short-term growth priorities at corporations undermine long-term transformation goals. 

The study, based on a survey of 1,000 CMOs, found that 80% firmly believe their companies must undergo a transformation in the next two to three years through product and service innovation to adequately service customers in the digital era. 

However, implementing transformational change is an elusive task, given the pressures to deliver short-term growth, which is the top priority at most firms, according to 64% of U.S. CMOs surveyed (and 61% globally). 

An inability to secure long-term investment is cited as the most significant barrier to delivering on marketing strategy, according to the study.  

Nearly two-thirds say they expect to come under further pressure to demonstrate tangible short-term results. Almost half of those surveyed have a marketing strategy that plans ahead for only two years or less, reflecting a business focus on near-term goals. 



Softening spend may be compounding these pressures. At the global level, the outlook for the next 12 months is mixed, with 41% of CMOs reporting budgets as flat or declining, despite growing revenues. 

U.S. CMOs, however, were more bullish on budget, with 61% saying they expect to see an increase of 5% or more.

Other key challenges: lack of integration across all elements of the customer experience (per 49% of U.S. CMOs and 41% globally), insufficient control over digital investments and programs, and competing C-suite agendas. 

Across a spectrum of marketing capabilities, there’s a significant gap between what CMOs believe to be important to future success, versus their current ability to execute. 

For example, 85% believe creativity is critical to future business success, while only 54% believe they are delivering well on the creative front today. And 83% identify the importance of seamless customer experience and commerce across channels, yet only 60% believe they are developing this capability well. 

The gap is also noteworthy in data management and analytics, where 84% identify these capabilities as important to future success with only 49% indicating they are confident in these capabilities at their firms today. 

The U.S., however, ranked more favorably than other regions when it came to extracting insights from their data. Forty-three percent of those surveyed here said it was difficult to do so, compared to 54% of all respondents. 

Dirk Herbert, Chief Strategy Officer, Dentsu Aegis Network, U.S. says the findings underscore the opportunity for agencies “to partner even more closely with marketers, as they work to fill the gaps and help create deeper engagement, connections and relevance among consumers now and into the future.”

The survey was conducted by Kadence International across 10 markets (100 from each): Australia, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, U.K. and U.S.

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