SMB CMOs Try to Stay on Top of Expanding Set of Channels, Mountain of Data

November 4, 2022

World events are certainly impacting the marketing roadmap of CMOs at SMBs, but keeping up-to-date with an ever-expanding set of platforms and channels might be an even bigger task, according to a report [download page] from Adverity.

The report asked 300 SMB CMOs in the US, UK and DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) which of 5 external factors has the biggest impact on marketing today. One-third pointed to the increasing number of platforms/channels, making this the top factor of the 5 listed. Next up, around one-quarter (26%) cited the unpredictability of world events (black swan events). Marketers may be feeling some confidence around their ability to deal with this, as three-quarters separately agreed (strongly or slightly) that over the past few years their marketing team was resilient enough to adapt to black swan events and quickly come out on top.

By comparison to platforms and black swan events, fewer said that the growing complexity of audience behavior (17% share) is the top external factor impacting marketing today. That’s despite separate research that has found marketers saying that post-pandemic changes in consumer behavior are the top societal topic or consumer concern impacting marketing strategies. During the first year of the pandemic, CMOs said that their biggest challenge was to figure out which consumer behavior was temporary versus permanent, and since then, research has shown that half of marketers have diversified their digital channels in response to changing consumer behavior.

Returning to the Adverity survey, 16% share of respondents said that hiring the right people / staff retention figures as their biggest external factor impacting marketing, while half as many (8%) reported that GDPR and privacy laws were their biggest factor.

The Importance – and Challenge – of Data

Separately, the report finds that 85% of respondents either strongly (46%) or slightly (39%) agreed that “being able to make data-driven decisions across the business has become a crucial competitive advantage”.

While there’s clear recognition of the importance of data, two-thirds said they have overwhelmed by the amount of marketing data available in recent years. That seems understandable given that virtually all (99%) report working with at least 10 data sources, including 52% working with at least 14 sources.

This is not an issue that many CMOs will be able to throw money at. Respondents were almost as likely to say that their budget for marketing data ops has decreased (27%) as increased (29%) this year, and when asked whether time or money was more stretched, 7 in 10 said money was the more stretched resource.

About the Data: The results are based on an April survey of 300 CMOs from small ($20-50 million in annual revenue) and mid-sized ($50 million – $1 billion) businesses in the US (33% share), UK (33%), Germany (17%), Switzerland (9%) and Austria (8%).

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