State of the CMO 2017: Marketers increasingly own digital, CX and technology

CMO's new annual research insights program looks at the marketing technology power of CMOs, customer experience strategies and more


More than 60 per cent of Australian marketing leaders own their organisation’s digital strategy as well as customer experience management, the latest State of the CMO 2017 has discovered.

According to the freshly minted results of CMO’s first annual State of the CMO research program, sponsored by Bold360, more than six in 10 of local marketers surveyed own their organisation’s wider digital strategy, well ahead of their traditional IT counterparts (15 per cent) and heads of business divisions (10 per cent). Just 7 per cent of companies surveyed had a dedicated digital department.

There were some slight discrepancies around digital ownership, depending on company size and focus. For instance, 68 per cent of B2B marketers owned digital strategy at their organisation, versus 60 per cent of their B2C counterparts. In those companies where marketing doesn’t own digital strategy, there was also a significant difference in who did: Just 11 per cent of B2B IT departments owned digital strategy, versus 30 per cent of B2C.

Marketers were also found to more commonly own digital strategy in organisations with fewer than 1000 employees; in those over 1000 seats, dedicated digital departments were more pronounced (15 per cent).  Across the board, only 6 per cent said they were yet to have clear responsibility for digital strategy today.

In addition, 30 per cent of respondents nominated ‘spearheading digital transformation’ as one of their top three priorities.

What was also apparent from the results was the increased ownership marketers have of martech, adtech and customer tech dollars.

Two-thirds of respondents to State of the CMO directly control the majority of dollars their organisation invests in marketing, advertising and customer technology products and services, and more than 20 per cent own at least 90 per cent of technology budget relating to these categories.

It’s equally clear the majority of marketers have been gaining control of technology purchasing. In 2017, more than one in four have sole purchasing power, and just 6 per cent claim all ownership resides with the IT department. The bulk - 47 per cent – share joint decision making with IT or digital departments, and 22 per cent are at least influencing by determining business need and evaluating appropriate solutions.

State of the CMO is CMO’s new annual industry insights research aimed at understanding how the role of the marketing and customer leader continues to evolve.

Having first embarked on similar research in 2014, this now annual study provides a benchmark in terms of the CMO position and marketing function, shining a light on the professional standing of the marketing leader, the extent of their role as digital and customer custodian within the organisation, technology investments as well as skills and functional priorities.

This year’s survey was undertaken between March and April 2017 and garnered 130 responses. Eighty-eight per cent of respondents are marketing manager or above, with 16 per cent listed as ‘chief marketing officer’, 28 per cent as ‘general manager/executive manager/head of marketing’, and 17 per cent ‘marketing director’. A further 27 per cent were in marketing management positions, and 5 per cent described themselves as ‘chief digital officer’. 

More widely, State of the CMO found more than one in three marketers are leading change efforts across their organisation.

One of the key reasons is that marketers are increasingly owning customer experience, end-to-end. For example, 60 per cent said customer experience function reports into the marketing function, and nearly one-third own customer service or customer care (31 per cent).

To read more of the findings, download our special State of the CMO 2017 report, now available in PDF form.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu      

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