CMOs say that marketing ROI has grown by an average of 3.2% over the past 12 months, according to [pdf] the latest CMO Survey from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, released in August 2012. That’s down from the 3.5% growth observed in the February iteration of the survey, yet remains above CMOs’ growth estimates from August 2011 (3%), February 2011 (2.7%), and August 2010 (2.2%).
The slowdown in marketing ROI growth from February is more positive when viewed against other financial metrics. While marketing ROI growth dipped 8.6% from February, growth in firm profits decreased 15.4% (from 3.9% to 3.3% growth), and growth in firm sales dropped by an even larger 16.7% (from 4.8% to 4% growth).
B2C Services Firms See Best Results
Segmenting the responses by business type, the survey finds that CMOs from B2C services firms report 4.1% growth in marketing ROI over the past 12 months, which compares favorably to growth in firm sales (4%) and firm profits (3.6%). The next-fastest marketing ROI growth comes from B2B services firms, who report 4% growth over the past 12 months, trailing growth in firm sales (4.7%) but slightly ahead of growth in firm profits (3.9%).
Lagging in marketing ROI growth rates are B2B product (3%) and B2B service (1.8%) firms. Interestingly, separate results from the survey indicate that CMOs from B2B companies see the least effective integration of customer information across all purchasing channels. Both B2B product and service companies rated their average integration a 3.7 on a 7-point scale of effectiveness, behind B2B service (4.2) and B2C service (4.1) companies.
Customer and Brand Metrics Also Weaken
Further details from the CMO Survey indicate that companies are seeing slowing growth in customer acquisition and retention, as well as brand value. The biggest change came for brand value growth, which fell 17.1% from 4.1% in February to 3.4% in August. B2C services companies saw the weakest growth in this metric, at 3.1%.
Even so, B2C services companies saw the highest rate of growth for both customer acquisition (3.8%) and customer retention (2.7%), outpacing the 3.3% and 2% averages, respectively.
CMOs Keep Bold ROI Goals
Despite the slowdown in marketing ROI growth in the past 12 months, CMOs are resolute about their ROI goals going forward, aiming for a 5.4% increase in the next 12 months. This focus on setting solid ROI goals contrasts with July 2012 survey results from Fournaise Marketing Group, which indicated that most CEOs believe that marketers are not paying enough attention to ROI.
Meanwhile, CMOs are also looking for solid growth in the next year for customer acquisition (5.8%), customer retention (4.8%), and brand value (5.8%).