2021 CMO Survey Results: Digital Marketing Still Dominates

The 2021 Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) survey aims to collect and disseminate the opinions of top marketers to predict the future of markets, track marketing excellence, and improve the value of marketing in firms and society. The survey has been conducted annually since 2008. Sponsors include Deloitte LLP, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and the American Marketing Association.

Survey participants from a wide range of industry sectors, including companies with varied sales revenue amounts and employee rosters, responded to questions that delivered valuable insight into the nature of today’s marketing trends. Following are some significant highlights of the survey, including the growing trend toward increased digital marketing.

Marketing Leaders Seem Optimistic

Marketing leaders from all sectors surveyed displayed a notable sense of optimism for much of the year of 2021, with companies featuring a greater volume of sales ($10B+) and larger employee roster (10K+) displaying the highest levels of optimism about the U.S. economy, compared to the previous quarter. A dip toward years’ end was assumed to have occurred as a result of COVID-19’s resurgence.

The Digital Marketing Transformation Progression During the Pandemic

The overwhelming trend made clear by the results of the 2021 CMO Survey was the dramatic increase in digital marketing demonstrated by the rapid progression of the digital marketing journeys of many companies, led by marketing leaders. Understandably, top priorities for digital marketing communications are the goals of driving business outcomes (like increasing revenue, sales, volume, and profit) and optimizing marketing communications. 

Investment in digital marketing has markedly increased since February 2021. Website optimization (an investment noted by 77.4% of reporting firms) and digital media and search (with 69.0% reportedly investing in such improvements) were the primary focus. These statistics obviously indicate an increasing push toward Internet sales and digital marketing channels, spurred only in part by the pandemic.

Expected Future Trends in Digital Marketing

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are new tools for digital marketing. Thus, their use remains limited. But an increasing number of companies report plans to make major investments in optimization and automation in the future.

Making a Case for Allocating More Funds for Marketing

Marketing professionals report feeling increased pressure to prove the value of marketing expenditures, especially to CEOs. Yet investment in digital marketing is increasingly important.

CMOs and other marketing leaders report obtaining increased marketing funds by emphasizing their expected impact on key performance indicators (KPIs), and how financial returns and supportive alignment with business goals will be increased.

Internet Sales Remain Strong – But Funding for Digital Marketing is Needed

Down a bit from the peak at the height of the pandemic, internet sales reportedly remain higher than pre-pandemic levels. Digital marketing is important for supporting these increased online sales.

The need for social media marketing spending is expected to grow in the future. Yet sales and marketing budgets don’t seem to have caught up with 2019 levels.

The Increasing Importance of Apps

Most companies that utilize apps believe that their apps are a key to both customer acquisition and customer retention strategies. Apps contribute little revenue but are important to B2C service companies.

The Importance of Market Development

The CMO Survey is an important industry-generated indicator of current trends in marketing. It provides insights that can help you better plan and implement timely marketing goals. One important insight gleaned from the 2021 CMO Survey is the importance of digital marketing techniques for market development.

Market development, not just penetration of existing markets, has become a priority across many of the surveyed business sectors for good reason.

At T.A. Monroe, we build world-class revenue engines to expand your brand reach, increase customer acquisition and increase your revenue. Let’s talk about how you can increase your digital marketing ROI.

Source: 2021 Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) survey

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