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IBM-CMO-Preparedness-Key-Marketing-Challenges-Feb2016CMOs around the world are making strides in tackling their key marketing challenges, according to an IBM report. Based on 723 CMO respondents from IBM’s Global C-Suite Study, the survey results indicate that a majority (54%) now feel prepared to manage the increasing complexity of marketing roles and responsibilities.

That’s up from just 39% who felt that way a couple of years earlier, in IBM’s 2013 study.

Similarly, a slight majority (51%) now feel prepared to manage shifting consumer demographics, up from 37% a couple of years earlier.

Growth in preparedness has been more striking when it comes to specific digitally-driven challenges. In this latest study, 52% feel prepared to manage the rise of social media, up from 34% a couple of years ago and 32% two years earlier. Additionally, although only a minority (36%) feel prepared to deal with the data explosion, that’s double the share (18%) from the 2013 research.

In other words, over the course of the past couple of years, the massive amount of focus paid to data-driven marketing and social media appears to have paid off, at least in terms of CMOs’ confidence in their ability to tackle these challenges.

The IBM study points out that a small group of “Torchbearer CMOs” (6% of the sample) are proving more adept at handling data and social challenges than “Market Follower CMOs” (33% of the sample). Torchbearers refer to organizations that have “both strong reputations as leading innovators and superb financial track records,” while Market Followers “have much lower market profiles in the opinion of the CMOs who speak for them, and almost all are far less financially successful.”

In comparing these two groups, IBM demonstrates that Torchbearers are more likely to be focusing on:

  • Open (77% vs. 62%) and platform (60% vs. 42%) business models;
  • Reaching the market first (79% vs. 46%);
  • Integrating marketing, sales and customer support (92% vs. 70%);
  • Customer journey mapping (82% vs. 65%);
  • Event and experiential marketing (84% vs. 48%);
  • Using customer feedback to explore new trends (61% vs. 51%); and
  • Customer collaboration and co-creation (66% vs. 50%).

About the Data: The results are based on the 723 CMOs who participated in IBM’s 18th study focusing on the C-suite. Respondents came from 18 industries, and were geographically distributed as follows:

  • North America (n=188);
  • Central and South America (77);
  • Western Europe (136);
  • Central and Eastern Europe (82);
  • Middle East and Africa (63);
  • Asia Pacific (98); and
  • Japan (79).

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