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Amidst growing concerns about the economy and fears of a global recession, a recent report [download page] from Gartner shows that marketers are remaining upbeat and optimistic about the impact of the business environment on marketing performance. An overwhelming majority (88%) of the more than 300 North American and UK marketing decision-makers surveyed believe that the wider business climate will have a positive impact on their company’s ability to meet business performance goals.

Indeed, even as indicators such an inverted yield curve in the bond market spell potential trouble in the markets, slightly more than half (53%) of respondents feel that the impact of economic and business conditions in the next 18 to 24 months will have a strong positive impact on marketing performance, while only 15% feel that the impact will be even somewhat negative.

When asked to choose their top three indicators to track the business and economic climate, CMOs said they are looking at factors such as global and regional GDP currency and interest rates (25%), market disruptions (24%) and consumer confidence measured by income and employment (20%). But these are not their top indicators. Instead, they are primarily looking at consumer spending (32%), prior year marketing performance (30%) and budgetary strategy within their company (27%).

Most Vital Capabilities, per CMOs

When queried about the capabilities considered most vital in supporting their marketing strategy over the next 18 months, about one-third (32%) of respondents chose market research and competitive insights as one of their top three (from a list of 10).

Marketing analytics (32%) is another vital capability that CMOs are using to support their marketing strategy. CMOs’ use of marketing analytics in decision-making has grown in recent years and reached an all-time high earlier this year, with CMOs reporting they had used marketing analytics on 43.5% of projects before making a decision.

Marketers have become so reliant upon analytics that Merkle found that if marketers were given extra budget, the areas of data, analytics and technology would be the first things they invested it in.

Meanwhile, another 31% of CMOs surveyed by Gartner named digital commerce as one of the most vital capabilities. Gartner’s view as to why digital commerce is considered a fundamental capability is that “alongside this commitment to data, there’s also a need to deliver revenue.”

Organizational Supporters and Detractors

Separately, the report found CMOs believe that IT has become one of the top supporters of their marketing strategy. IT is followed by Sales and Business Development and Customer Experience leaders.

The report points out that just two years ago, IT was considered one of marketing’s major detractors. In 2019, Finance is cited as marketing’s top inhibitor. Historically, these two departments have experienced friction, with a report back in 2016 finding that finance and marketing professionals said that one of their biggest challenges was finance’s lack of understanding marketing’s processes, tasks and objectives or vice versa.

Finance isn’t the only detractor. Legal and Supply Chain were both also considered inhibitors of marketing strategy.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Findings for the report are based on a survey of 342 marketing decision-makers from North America and the UK. “Respondents were required to be involved in decisions pertaining to setting or influencing marketing strategy and planning, as well as be involved in aligning marketing budget/resources.”

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