CMOCouncil C Suite Confidence Marketing Growth Recovery July2021Last year, marketers were tasked with retaining and connecting with customers at a time when many marketing budgets were being shifted or cut, leading many to believe that the importance of marketing had increased. And, even as some sense of normality is starting to be restored, marketers still face an uphill climb as the economy recovers. However, the C-suite is showing confidence that marketers are up to the task, with a report [download page] from CMO Council finding that 7 in 10 senior management executives say they are extremely (17%) or moderately (52%) confident in marketing’s ability to lead growth recovery in this challenged global economy.

Even more encouraging, although 29% of the 120 respondents were only somewhat confident in marketing’s ability to lead growth recovery in today’s economy, very few (3%) say they are not at all confident.

This confidence could stem from the way marketing teams handled themselves in the face of a global crisis. Marketers were forced to pivot from using more traditional marketing tactics and put an even heavier emphasis on digital marketing and digital transformation, sometimes with smaller budgets. Perhaps with this in mind, close to half of the respondents rated their marketing teams’ performance in the past year as exceptional (6%) or very good (40%), with another 45% rating it as moderate.

Leadership Gaps

Another benefit for marketing teams is that leadership is becoming more involved. About 7 in 10 business leaders say they have extensive (42%) or regular (27%) involvement or interactions with their marketing teams and programs. However, even with this level of involvement, respondents are seeing leadership gaps in their marketing organization.

When asked to identify the holes they are seeing, modernization of marketing organization, systems and operation was the top-cited gap (top 5 selected) for some 42% of respondents. And, just as digital marketing skills are coveted skills of most marketing teams, 4 in 10 respondents believe there are gaps in proficient, technically savvy managers in key digital roles.

Other gaps cited include greater customer knowledge and marketing understanding (37% citing as among their top 5), adaptive, informed decision making based on good data (34%) and the ability to make a business case of marketing spend (30%).

Metrics Used to Measure Marketing’s Value

In the eyes of the senior management executives surveyed, marketing’s ability to drive revenue and sales is the top factor in assessing its value. Some 8 in 10 say they would use revenue and sales growth as a metric to measure marketing value, contributions and performance (top 5 selected).

Revenue growth isn’t the only KPI respondents would use, however. Closely attached to revenue and sales growth, some 7 in 10 (71%) cited customer acquisition and profitability as being among their top 5, and more than half (53%) would use customer satisfaction and retention. Fewer say they would evaluate marketing’s value using corporate reputation and recognition (39%) or brand vitality and affinity (39%). And, despite marketing making customer lifetime value a priority, only about 1 in 10 (9%) would use customer lifetime value as a top metric to measure marketing value and performance.

The full report can be found here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 120 senior management executives across companies of various sizes and industry sectors.

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