CMOs and Brand Managers Have A Host of Concerns on Their Minds

April 6, 2022

Since 2019, we’ve endured a panoply of global issues. But for CMOs and brand managers, something has stayed constant: the problem of ROI and ROMI. Indeed, fully 98% of the 400+ CMOs and brand managers asked by Brand Keys about the issues keeping them up at night pointed to ROI and ROMI, similar to the 97% who did so back in 2019.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that this issue remains timeless, especially as marketers feel increasing pressure to prove the value of marketing to others in the C-suite. In fact, one study found 84% saying that they are under pressure to justify their spend and budget increases by proving ROI for all programs. And with marketers often struggling to measure ROI, research suggests they’re missing the mark and simply measuring KPIs instead.

It’s Not Just ROI Keeping CMOs Up at Night

While virtually all CMOs and brand managers are concerned with their return on investment, there are plenty of other issues also plaguing them. In fact, 10 issues were cited by at least 9 in 10 respondents.

The most broadly cited after ROI is the inescapable COVID pandemic, as 95% pointed to COVID and COVID-related employee management issues as an issue that keeps them up at night. Two other issues not directly related to marketing were next, with 94% worried about supply chain snafus and product availability and 92% concerned with inflation.

Rounding out the top 5 was concern about competition from new brands (91%), while 9 in 10 also indicate worries about optimizing and owning CX and the customer journey (with ownership of CX somewhat debated), establishing trust between their brand and the consumer (also a key topic), and consumer expectations regarding privacy, transparency, and CSR (which can be related to brand trust).

Which Issues Are More – and Less – Concerning?

Compared to 2019, some issues have risen and fallen in terms of their ability to make insomniacs out of marketers. And in a time when marketers are increasingly fighting for a fragmented, distracted audience, one stands out as having grown the most: keeping consumers engaged with the brand. This year 86% of respondents said this keeps them up at night, up 11% points from 2019, when three-quarters were worried.

Other problems that are keeping more marketers up at night include developing long-term/new strategies that align with corporate growth goals (88%, up from 80%) and dealing with consumer tribalism and political dogma (82%, up from 77%).

By the same token, some issues have fewer respondents worried this year. Somewhat surprisingly, the biggest drop was for data security issues: only 80% cited this as an issue, down some 15% points from 95% in 2019. One might wonder if that’s because other problems have taken up residence in marketers’ cramped minds, rather than this declining as an issue… Consumers certainly haven’t forgotten about this, with many feeling like they’re losing control of their data.

For the full list of 24 issues that are keeping at least three-quarters of CMOs and brand managers up at night, see the press release here.

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