What’s in CMOs’ Growth Plans This Year?

February 10, 2021

Gartner CMO Primary Strategy Fuel Growth into 2021 Feb2021Marketing leaders appear to be focusing on existing rather than new markets, with a study by Gartner revealing that close to three-quarters of CMOs say they will keep their attention on existing customers to spur growth in 2021. The survey of more than 350 marketing leaders explores which primary strategies are expected to drive growth in the coming year.

When asked to indicate their company’s primary strategy for fueling growth in 2021, the largest share (39%) of the CMOs surveyed stated that their strategy will focus on increasing sales of existing products to existing customers. Another 34% share say they will be focusing on introducing new products to existing customers.

On the other hand, far fewer CMOs see that the way to driving growth this year is by entering a new market either by using existing products (18%) or by introducing new products (7%). However, there is widespread optimism about growth this year, considering only 1% said they were not anticipating any sales growth in 2021.

Earlier in 2020, when Gartner asked enterprise CMOs to indicate their primary strategy to drive growth, the focus remained on existing markets. However, at that time respondents seemed more focused on new products to existing markets than in this latest survey, in which CMOs instead want to increasing sales of existing products in those markets.

This same focus on selling existing products and services was also preferred by marketers surveyed by S2 Research in May/June 2020, which found that close to 6 in 10 marketers believed that it was extremely important to concentrate on selling existing products for the next 6 months to a year.

Areas of Improvement

Although the majority of CMOs from Gartner’s latest survey have a clear focus on existing rather than new markets, a recent report [download page] from CMO Council shows that, when it comes to investing in marketing technology, gaining new customers is still an area of interest.

The report also discloses that 69% of the CMO Council survey respondents plan to increase their marketing technology spend in 2021. Aided by martech, half of these members have made customer journey, acquisition and conversion a key area of improvement for 2021, while another one-third (32%) are keen to improve demand generation and pipeline.

In terms of areas in need of improvement, CMOs are also considering planning around digital growth strategies (36%), campaign and measurement (35%) and actioning on customer data insights (26%).

Analytics and Insights a Top Priority

With regards to the priorities CMO Council members are setting when it comes to their martech investment this year, analytics, insights and intelligence is the top priority by some margin — some 53% made this one of their marketing technology investment priorities for 2021.

It’s no wonder that analytics, insights and intelligence rank so high on the list of priorities. Google and Forrester Consulting found that some of the benefits to digital analytics technology include improved customer experience, improved marketing campaign outcomes and improved ability to understand the full customer journey.

Considerably fewer CMO Council survey respondents listed campaign executions (36%) and marketing operations (35%) as martech investment priorities for the year. Others are focusing on engagement, with 32% citing customer experience and engagement as a priority and 26% prioritizing digital engagement.

To read more, the CMO Council report can be found here and more insights from Gartner can be found here.

About the Data: Gartner findings are based on a survey of 381 marketing leaders conducted between September and October 2020.


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