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Gartner Enterprise CMO Most Vital Marketing Capabilities Jul2020CMOs’ approach to strategy and budget has been necessarily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. According to Gartner’s annual CMO Spend Survey [download page] for 2020, their priorities are changing, and almost half of CMOs (44%) face budget cuts this year. Here’s how marketing leaders are prioritizing capabilities and metrics right now.

CMOs’ Most Vital Capabilities

When asked to list their 3 most vital marketing capabilities for 2020, one-third (33%) of the more than 400 global respondents listed brand strategy, highlighting this as the most vital capability going forward.

That brand strategy ranked far lower in 2019’s survey indicates its particular place in how organizations are responding to the pandemic. Supporting this notion, previous research from Bynder revealed that some 94% of marketers think COVID-19 has had at least a moderate impact on their brand strategy. And, in research from The CMO Survey, brand awareness and brand-building emerged as the most common use for social media during the pandemic by some margin.

Market analytics (29%) is considered the next most vital capability among respondents, continuing a pre-COVID-19 trend that has seen analytics and measurement become a top investment priority. Other top capabilities include marketing operations (28%), digital commerce (26%) and market research and competitive insights (25%).

Capabilities that are seen to be less vital by CMOs include talent/skill development (13%), creative design and development (12%), demand generation and lead management (12%) and advertising/media buying and placement (12%).

CMOs’ Most Valuable Metrics

With regards to metrics, respondents listed a range when asked to rank their top 3. At a time when budgets are strained, ROI is understandably the top metric, listed by one-fifth (19%) of respondents as being among their top 3. Following this were marketing qualified leads (18%), sales qualified leads (15%), conversion rate (14%) and CSAT (14%).

Notably, share of voice comes in at the bottom, listed by just 4% of respondents. With consumer sentiment about brands’ social media presence changing quickly at this time, marketers appear to be prioritizing having the right conversation with customers rather than looking to own the conversation – as such, brand health (12%) and sentiment (11%) rank higher.

With brand strategy showing up as the most vital capability, marketers are using a number of specific metrics to assess brand value in their organization. More than 4 in 10 (44%) respondents listed brand health/brand tracker among their 2 most valuable brand metrics, and competitive benchmarks were listed by 41%, this being the metric that the highest share of respondents ranking it at #1 (24%). Other key metrics in respondents’ top 2 include awareness (38%), sentiment (35%) and share of wallet (23%), with share of voice again ranking lowest (19%).

At a time when brand and messaging are so important, it’s no wonder that steps are being taken to measure brand value accurately. However, this has historically been a challenge for CMOs, with previous research by Gartner finding that measuring the impact of brand investments is one of the top brand challenges for marketing leaders.

Read more about CMOs’ strategic priorities in the full report here.

About the Data: Based on a survey of 432 marketing leaders from the US, Canada, France, Germany and the UK at companies with $50 million to $200 billion+ in annual revenue.

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