Apple Inc. was voted the top marketing company across industries via The CMO Survey—a feat it has achieved for the last 13 years.
When asked to “select the company in your industry that sets the standard for excellence in marketing,” marketing leaders selected Amazon and Salesforce in the technology sector, Coca Cola Inc., Nike and Proctor & Gamble in consumer goods, and Disney in consumer services.
The twice-yearly CMO Survey is sponsored by Deloitte LLP, The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and the American Marketing Association. Results are based on a sample of 265 top marketers at for-profit U.S. companies, 98% of whom hold the position of VP-level or higher.
Marketer optimism measured at 62.7 points out of 100, up from 57 points, which was the lowest point of the survey’s past eight years. Companies with annual revenues under $25 million showed the most optimism, measuring 65.7 points.
Marketing budget growth dipped to 7.6% compared to August 2019’s 8-year high of 8.7%. This drop may reflect last year’s actual marketing budget, which was only 5.8%.
Marketing leaders say they’re ramping up investments in overall customer experience to distinguish their brands from the competition, with an increase of 71% over the past three years, acording to the survey, released Feb. 26.
Customer experience now comprises more than 15% of marketing budgets compared to about 9% in 2017.
“Companies are realizing customer experience is where they can stand out relative to their competitors,” said Christine Moorman, a Fuqua marketing professor and director of The CMO Survey, in a release. “It’s not just about the product or service, but the entire customer journey from beginning to end, and it’s something companies should be explicitly managing.”
Companies expect to increase spending on customer experience by a third over the next three years, bringing it to about one-fifth of their overall marketing budgets.
The percent of marketing budget spent on mobile continues its upward trend and is expected to continue to rise—growing 73% over the next five years.
Internet sales as a percent of revenues are ticking up, rising to the highest level in a decade, at 13.5%.
The survey also revealed insights into how companies are measuring performance. Most often, marketers report that their companies look at traditional accounting metrics, such as sales or profits.“The very best metrics to use in marketing are the forward-looking ones,” Moorman said. "These forward-looking metrics tell the company something much more valuable about its effectiveness over time, so it was surprising to see the stronger focus on sales or profits.”