CMO

Customer trust, proving marketing's worth rise in State of the CMO results

Fourth annual State of the CMO research shines the spotlight on the evolving nature of the chief marketing officer role

A firm eye on customer trust, increasing confidence in proving marketing’s worth and changing customer technology purchasing dynamics are just a few of the key findings of this year’s State of the CMO research by CMO.

According to the fourth annual edition of the State of the CMO research program, the top customer priority identified by marketing leaders both before and in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis is having a trusted relationship with brands. This came in trumps over price, product quality and innovation.

In addition, more than seven in 10 respondents nominated ‘being customer-led’ as the primary growth driver for their organisations today.

Against this, this year’s report shows marketers playing a key role in leading the customer charge. Six in 10 said they oversaw the customer experience function within their organisations, along with customer analytics, while half those surveyed own CX strategy either in their own right, or jointly with executive peers.

Yet even as this push for customer emphasis grows, a gap was present between the CMO agenda, and how marketers are actually measuring success. For example, the majority of marketing leaders said they still use customer acquisition as the dominant metric for gauging success, against measures such as customer lifetime value.

When asked for specific metrics used to prove marketing’s value, campaign metrics by program came out tops (78 per cent), followed by sales revenue (71 per cent) and Web or mobile traffic (65 per cent).

Among other highlights of this year’s report is a double-digit rise year-on-year in chief marketing officers able to prove marketing’s ROI quantitatively, with nearly three-quarters confident in their ability to do so.

Unique to this year’s State of the CMO is also the look into how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted priorities, budgets and focus areas for marketing functions. When asked about marketing budgets in the COVID-19 environment compared to 2020 projected budgets, for example, more than half of respondents had experienced a decrease, with just shy of 50 per cent seeing budgets cut by at least 10 per cents.

However, it’s worth noting nearly 20 per cent said they’d seen their budgets increase during the crisis. When asked about how optimistic they were about the state of marketing right now, the majority of respondents were also found to be either ‘very optimistic’ or ‘somewhat optimistic’ despite the unprecedented challenges and operating environments we all find ourselves in at this time.

When it comes to customer technology procurement, a notable change seen year-on-year is a decrease in CMOs with sole purchasing decision-making power over procurement and sourcing. Just over one in five reported having sole purchasing decision-making power, down 10 per cent year-on-year, while 59 per cent reported joint purchasing decision-making power with the IT or digital team, a rise of 10 per cent compared to 2019.

The figures arguably highlight the maturing and growing scope of customer technologies, encompassing everything from campaign management, marketing automation and CRM tools, into whole-of-customer experience management across all functions of an organisation.

State of the CMO is an annual industry research initiative aimed at understanding how Australian marketing leadership is evolving. The CMO report looks into key aspects of the chief marketing officer position and function, encompassing the professional standing of the modern marketing leader, their technology procurement remit and investments, functional responsibilities, the extent of their roles and digital and customer owners within the business, and skills and priorities.

To access the full complimentary copy of the 2020 State of the CMO report, click here.

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