Top marketing executives are growing increasingly cynical about both their own roles, as well as the overall direction of their marketing organizations, according to findings released this morning by industry consultant MediaLink.
Three quarters of 400 senior marketing executives surveyed last summer that they are pessimistic about their business's growth prospects, while nearly a third (31%) said they are "very pessimistic."
In its analysis of the data in the just-released 2024 edition of its "Marketers Forecast" report, MediaLink's analysts attributed the increasingly negative sentiment to "the scale of challenges" confronting big marketers, including an uncertain economic environment and fundamental changes in media and marketing technologies, such as the complexity associated with the transition to AI.
"In this era of perpetual disruption, we are living through another profound and radical shift," MediaLink CEO Michael Kassan explains in an introduction to the report, noting, "AI knocked on our door yesterday, took out the metaverse overnight, and infiltrated everything.
"Inflation skyrocketed to its highest rate since the ‘80s and is barely cooling.
"Creators gave rise to a new economy.
"The climate crisis accelerated from a 20-year warning to an imminent concern.
"I could go on. The pace and fury of change could provoke chaos."
While Kassan went on to say marketing execs "seem to be taking it in stride," the study's findings don't necessarily align with that calming view.
More than two-thirds (68%) of the study's respondents said they are "at risk of becoming corporate figureheads," while nearly half (45%) believe their companies have "compromised core values to enables short-term wins," a figure that has increased 80% from a similar survey conducted by MediaLink in 2022.
Perhaps most cynical of all, less than a quarter (22%) of respondents cited ethical business practices as one of their top priorities, though that figure actually rose from only 15% in last year's survey.