An study of chief marketing officers today revealed some interesting contrasts between their optimism and their realities.
The 8th annual "State of Marketing" report from the CMO Council, a 7,000-member group stretched across 110 countries, showed senior marketers are gaining status within their companies, but still want closer ties to their fellow "chiefs."
It also found that while they're optimistic about their ability to meet the shifting demands of their employers, most of them are behind their targets for the current year.
"A big benefit to marketers is the growing level of collaboration and interaction with functional heads and line-of-business leaders," said Executive Director Donovan Neal-May. "This is giving marketing more weight in strategic decision-making and also ensuring organizational alignment around the customer experience given marketing incrasing ownership of customer data and insight."
That may be true, but the report, based on a 50-point survey of 525 participants around the world, also showed CMOs have a long way to go before they achieve their personal and professional goals.
For example, 81 percent said they believe management objectives for the current year are "realistic and attainable," but only 26 percent said they were even half-way to meeting their goals. Forty-six percent said they were "just starting out."
Trusted, Not Equal
Sixty-nine percent said they were "trusted strategic members of the C-suite," but just 30 percent said today's CMO is equal to their C-level peers. Forty-five percent said that is only sometimes the case.
Further evidence of the trailing status of CMOs came from Spencer Stuart, a head-hunting firm that conducts about 200 searches a year for senior marketing executives. It noted that only 38 of the 9,800 seats on the boards of publicly traded Fortune 1000 companies are held by CMOs.
It appears there may be some hiring coming in the marketing area, with 55 percent saying they plan to add staff, but you might subtract from that the 22 percent who expect cutbacks. Just 10 percent felt their own jobs were at risk.
The report also looked into some of the ways that marketing is changing, and what that means to the person in charge of the department.
"Customer centricity has become an all-encompassing theme in 2014 as chief marketers seek to modify internal cultural mindsets and help their organizations become more market-minded and adaptive to customer needs," the report said.
About 63 percent of the marketers said they want to increase the value of their efforts through customer segmentation and targeting.
Money and Technology
The survey also found growing bonds between the CFO and the CMO stemming from expectations of making a business case for marketing spend. Additionally, "marketing automation gains and the resultant ROI are creating a tighter coupling between CMOs and CIOs," the report concluded.
Of the survey participants, 45 percent were from companies with more than $1 billion in sales, 27 percent came from companies in the $100 million to $1 billion ranges, an the remaining 28 percent worked for companies with less than $100 million in sales. Forty-one percent focus on B2B markets, 23 percent on B2C and the remainder said they worked with both.
About half the answers came from executives in North America. The other half included Europe (19 percent), Asia-Pacific (18 percent), the Middle East and Africa (5 percent), and Latin America (3 percent). The project was sponsored by NetBase and Infor.
Title Image by Stafano Tinti / Shutterstock.