After more than 18 months, the world remains confined by the myriad difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic. Challenges brought about by variants, continued closures, and shifting organizational priorities have marketers adding additional responsibilities to an already full plate. Our latest research delves into actions marketing leaders are taking to make the case for marketing spending and the measurement of performance from specific growth strategies used.
Digital marketing transformations
Throughout the course of the pandemic, marketers have led digital transformations at 73% of companies. Ownership of the digital transformation journey has been influenced by firm size, with firms of $500–999M in revenue showing a high of 86.3% leadership. Marketers report investing in digital marketing with the goal of driving business outcomes (e.g., sales, increased revenue, volume, profit) over improving customer experiences or achieving efficiencies. In the latest iteration of The CMO Survey, we have seen an increased investment in digital marketing activities since February of this year, with 77.4% of firms now investing in the optimization of websites and 69% in digital media and search.
he value of marketing leadership
With increased efforts and spend required over the past year, the pressure to prove the impact of marketing efforts is increasing, with 58.7% of marketing leaders reporting increased pressure from CEOs and 45.1% from CFOs. Marketing leaders make the case for marketing spending by proving alignment with business priorities and strategies, setting reasonable expectations about how marketing will influence returns, and explaining the impact of marketing spending overall. The ability to track the impact of marketing spend in the short term, however, is primarily done through the use of quantitative tools, while the majority of marketers report that longer-term impact remains more of a qualitative valuation. Marketing leaders report that sales impact and customer engagement make up almost 50% of their marketing performance metrics.
Marketing and DEI
Marketers have reported an average increase of around 10% of marketing spend on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives over the course of the past year, compared with 8.9% in February of 2021. Marketers have shared a difficulty in envisioning opportunities for DE&I-related opportunities as a barrier to their marketing strategy and decision making, but are continuing to consider this a priority for their organizations. Companies continue to evolve their marketing activities associated with DE&I efforts and are reporting more changes in DEI with regard to training, segmentation and targeting, product and services design, and marketing partnerships.