CMO Survey: Traditional Branding is ‘Broken’

March 4, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | B2B | Brand Metrics | Creative & Formats | Financial Services | Personalization

An overwhelming majority (87%) of US CMOs and marketing managers believe that branding initiatives need to be more flexible today than in the past, and 63% think traditional brand positioning and advertising are losing their effectiveness and are “broken,” according to a survey from the Verse Group and Jupiter Research.


The research found that marketers believe the current economic crisis is accelerating their need to innovate to find new ways to position their brands across delivery platforms, at a time when marketing ROI is getting increased scrutiny from company management.

Key survey findings:

  • 62% of marketers say that traditional advertising efforts are no longer as effective as they once were in attracting new customers.
  • 62% are seeking breakthrough methods that are more effective than brand positioning.
  • ?89% say that marketing is under greater scrutiny than ever before.
  • The top three trends marketers see are a shift to non-traditional media, the need to adopt brand stories and a growing use of design for competitive advantage.

As a result of the findings, Verse Group said that companies that adopt narrative-based branding strategies that cut across many delivery platforms have greater success potential than those who don’t.

“If companies such as GM, Dell and Sony are to regain their competitiveness, they have to retool their approach to marketing, not just their products,” said Randall Ringer, co-founder of Verse Group. “They need a compelling narrative to engage the hearts and minds of customers.”

Top Priorities for 2009

The survey also asked the same group of marketers about their top priorities for 2009, and uncovered two major themes that echo marketers’ views about branding initiatives. First, an across-the-board push for greater marketing accountability is adding increased pressure on marketers to prove the worth of their marketing dollars.

Second, as media consumption shifts online, marketers must find a better way to manage brands across multiple platforms in order to create a coherent brand experience across all platforms and customer touchpoints.

The following are the top? priorities CMOs and senior marketers have for 2009:


  1. Achieving measurable ROI on marketing efforts.
  2. Developing marketing programs that integrate online and traditional media.
  3. Translating brand experience across different touchpoints.
  4. Cutting marketing budgets without cutting performance.
  5. Optimizing portfolio of brands.

According to Verse Group, the study highlights a sharp divide between marketers’ priorities and their current perceptions of existing branding tools. Nearly three-quarters (71%) say that managing their brand across multiple platforms is a big challenge for their organization and that there is a large gap between need and capability.

About the survey: This report is based on a quantitative research study designed by Jupiter Research in partnership with Verse Group. The study was fielded online among 101 marketing decision-makers between November 1 – 10, 2008. Respondents met the criteria of being either a CMO, VP of marketing, marketing director or marketing manager. All respondents are at companies with revenues of $250 million or greater, with 72% having revenues of $1 billion or greater. A wide range of industries were represented. The research study includes companies that market to B2Band B2C audiences.

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