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Contrary to some research showing marketing budget skepticism around the world, a majority of senior marketers around the world surveyed by The CMO Council [download page] say their budgets have grown this year as compared to last. Along with these additional funds have come increased responsibilities, legitimacy, and compensation, leading The CMO Council to tab 2013 as “the year of the marketer.”

Looking first at budgets, 54% reported an increase this year, while an additional 24% reported no change. Encouragingly, almost 1 in 5 said they saw an increase in budgets of more than 10%. As a percentage of revenue, about two-thirds reported their budgets to be up to 4%. While The CMO Council report suggests that’s not a big change from the past, it also indicates that there appears to be an increase in the proportion of marketers benefiting from slightly higher margins. Still, insufficient budgets continue to roil marketers, as they cited this to be their biggest area of frustration.

Of course, with money comes responsibility, and respondents report most often being mandated by senior management to lower costs and improve go-to-market efficiencies, grow or retain market share, and drive top-line growth. Marketers seem unfazed by these tasks, with 82% believing them to be both realistic and attainable, and a majority reporting being at least halfway to success at the time of the survey.

That may be why only about 1 in 10 say their jobs are at risk, and 69% reported an increase in salary (or bonus) in the last year. Still, respondents believe there is some room for growth: while 39% believe they’re adequately compensated for their work, a rival 38% say they’re not.

Leadership, Strategic Acumen Come to the Fore

As the report, “The State of Marketing 2012” shows, marketers have an array of responsibilities spanning various functions and channels, but they most commonly say they have authority over strategic planning and forecasting. That strategic oversight plays its way into agency relationships, as marketers seek more from their partners. That is, among the key reasons that marketers gave for changing agencies, lack of innovation and value-added thinking topped the list. That’s consistent with previous survey results from both Avidan Strategies and The CMO Council, which found marketers’ agency reviews to hinge on issues of strategic competence. This suggests that as marketers take more of a leadership role in their organizations, they are expecting their agency partners to follow suit.

It’s not a surprise, then – although it is illuminating – that when asked the knowledge or competency they are looking to develop in order to advance their careers, the largest proportion of marketers said they are looking to improve their leadership and motivational skills. Just how well they do so may determine just how happy they are with their compensation next year: while 41% expect an increase, 31% say it will be tied to their performance.

About the Data: The CMO Council surveyed more than 550 heads of marketing, communications, and customer engagement from around the world. Nearly 65% of the marketers surveyed report to the president, chief executive officer or chief operating officer, and a further 15% report to regional and business division chiefs. More than 30% of respondents represent companies with more than $1 billion in annual sales; 11% have between $500 million and $1 billion in sales; and another 30% come from companies with revenues between $50 million and $500 million. Nearly 60% of respondents globally held executive officer titles, with the balance at the director level.

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