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CMOs are under intense pressure to get more bang for their buck

Deloitte, in partnership with the Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the American Marketing Association, releases the CMO Survey twice a year which is a collection of the opinions of marketing leaders (n= 316) across industries. The report is used to predict the future of markets, track marketing excellence, and improve marketing value. 

The CMO Survey is conducted amongst US participants and therefore the reported increase in optimism for the US economy would not apply to CMOs in South Africa, where the economy continues to contract. Nevertheless, what is common to most CMOs, regardless of where in the world they are, are inflationary pressures and decreasing marketing spend. 

The report provides valuable findings which can be found here.

Below are five themes from the report that many CMOs in South Africa are grappling with:

  1. Marketing budgets as a percentage of company budget have dropped. CRM and Brand Building is predicted to slow, while CX spending is expected to increase. Direct expenses of marketing activities remain the biggest cost, while sales enablement costs are on the low end.  
  2. AI is being integrated into marketing with content personalisation and content creation taking the lead. Marketing leaders are reporting that sales productivity has improved due to AI, as well as customer satisfaction, while it has decreased marketing overheads. 
  3. Digital marketing transformation is progressing along the maturity curve, but influencer contribution to company performance remains low.  Tracking the customer across the journey continues to be a top challenge.
  4. Centralisation of marketing function remains the most common position, but more companies are locating marketing at business unit levels – a 35.5% increase.
  5. Marketing performance remains strong relative to the pandemic.  B2B companies report higher profit, sales, customer and brand performance, outpacing B2C companies on customer acquisition, retention and brand metrics.  

As a result of declining company revenue, CMOs are under enormous pressure to demonstrate financial contribution, with many walking a tight rope between investing in marketing strategies that yield customer growth and sales, while continuing with important brand building initiatives.  We are seeing more and more clients asking for cost optimisation solutions such as marketing mix modelling, marketing automation and deeper customer segmentation as ways to reduce spend wastage and enable customer acquisition at a lower cost.  With the local economic outlook remaining negative, we expect that CMOs will be hard-pressed to show marketing return of investment with budgets that are being tightened year-on-year. 

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