[Research Round-Up] Insights From “The CMO Survey” and Nielsen’s Annual Marketing Report

(This month’s Research Round-Up discusses some of the major findings found in the Spring 2024 edition of “The CMO Survey” and a set of interesting perspectives from the “2024 Annual Marketing Report” by Nielsen.)

Source:  Christine MoormanSpring 2024 edition of “The CMO Survey”

A survey of 292 marketing leaders at U.S. for-profit companies94% of the respondents were VP-level or above62% of the respondents were with B2B companiesSurvey was in the field February 6 – March 5, 2024

“The CMO Survey” is a semi-annual survey of senior marketing leaders that has been conducted since 2008. The survey is directed by Dr. Christine Moorman and is sponsored by Deloitte LLP, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and the American Marketing Association.
For several years, each edition of the survey has asked participants about overall economic conditions, current marketing spending patterns, and future spending expectations. Here are some of the major findings on those topics from the Spring 2024 survey.
Economic Outlook
The survey asked participants to rate their optimism regarding the overall U.S. economy on a 100-point scale, with “0” being the least optimistic and “100” being the most optimistic. The mean rating given by respondents was 67, up from 58.3 in the March 2023 survey edition.
The survey also asked if participants were more or less optimistic about the U.S. economy compared to the previous quarter, and 43.7% of the respondents reported being more optimistic. That was up from 30.1% in the March 2023 edition of the survey.
Marketing Spending
Respondents reported that marketing spending represented 10.1% of total company revenue, which was down slightly from 10.9% in the March 2023 survey.
Respondents also said that marketing spending increased 2.5% during the 12 months preceding the survey, and they expect marketing spending will increase 4.7% during the 12 months following the survey. In the March 2023 survey, respondents expected marketing spending to grow 5.7% during the following 12 months, which shows that forward-looking expectations aren’t always accurate.
The relative change in spending on digital marketing vs. traditional advertising remains significant. In the Spring 2024 survey, respondents reported that spending on digital marketing grew 8.9% over the 12 months preceding the survey. In contrast, respondents said they expect spending on traditional advertising to decrease by 2.1% over the 12 months following the survey.
Use of Marketing Technology
The Spring 2024 survey included several questions relating to marketing technology. One of these questions produced a result that is difficult to understand or explain. Nearly a fourth (24.7%) of the respondents said their company is not using marketing technology systems.
Scott Brinker (a/k/a chiefmartec) wrote that when he saw this result, “I fell out of my chair.” He went on to write:  “So this is obviously false. If you have a website, you use marketing technology. If you have a database of your customers . . . you use marketing technology. If you create essentially any kind of content on a computer, you use marketing technology.”
“The CMO Survey” consistently provides a wealth of valuable insights for B2B marketers, and I encourage you to read the full report.

Source:  Nielsen“2024 Annual Marketing Report” by Nielsen

Based on a survey of 1,514 global marketing professionalsRespondents were brand marketers at or above manager levelRespondents worked with annual marketing budgets of $1 million or moreSurvey was conducted December 5 – 21, 2023

This report takes an interesting approach. It describes the survey results, but the report’s authors also point out several issues with the prevailing sentiments expressed by the survey respondents.
The report identifies four major themes based on the survey findings.
Advertising Spending
Seventy-four percent (74%) of the respondents expect their ad budget to increase this year, and on average, they expect to allocate more than 63% of their budget to digital channels. The survey results also show that a majority of the respondents perceive that digital channels are extremely or very effective.
The report’s authors note that the effectiveness of any given channel varies significantly across brands. Therefore, what’s effective for one brand might not work as well for another.
Marketing Misalignment
Seventy percent (70%) of the respondents said they plan to increase spending on performance marketing and decrease spending on brand building.
The report’s authors note that marketers’ most important KPIs are long-term ROI and full-funnel ROI and that a shift toward performance marketing (and away from brand building) won’t fully support those goals.
Media Balance
The third theme in the report addresses the performance marketing vs. brand building issue from a media selection perspective. The report’s authors note that globally, only 36% of marketing channels perform above average for delivering both sales and brand building. They also contend that using multiple, diverse channels improves campaign reach.
Measuring Performance
On average, 84% of the survey respondents said they are either extremely or very confident in their ROI measurement capabilities, but only 38% said they evaluate the ROI of their marketing efforts holistically by measuring traditional and digital media spending together.
The report’s authors argue that holistic measures of marketing ROI are necessary to avoid blind spots that can result in an inaccurate picture of the true impact of a brand’s total marketing efforts.

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