Twice a year, a group of researchers release the CMO Survey. The report unveils findings from top marketers at for-profit US companies with a mission “to predict the future of markets, track marketing excellence, and improve the value of marketing in organizations and society.”
It’s a valuable, albeit hefty, body of work that uncovers what are – or are soon to be – key trends for brands and marketers. Fortunately, we’ve done the heavy reading so you don’t have to; below are our 5 top insights from The CMO Survey that we think every brand should pay attention to.
1. It’s Time to Rethink Traditional Advertising
The study found that not only are marketing budgets universally on the rise – breaking 10% growth for the first time in a decade! – but marketers are also looking to spend more on traditional advertising in 2022 with an expected 2.9% increase over the next 12 months.
Credit: The CMO Survey
With the lift of lockdown orders ushering people away from their devices, combined with increasingly stringent data privacy policies, now is the right time to go back to our marketing roots and test the effectiveness of radio, print, TV, outdoor, and direct mail advertising.
If you’re looking for inspiration, consider combining modern marketing tactics (influencers, user-generated content, etc.) or global causes with traditional mediums.
UberEats is one of the few brands that has remained regularly active in the traditional advertising sphere and can serve as a model for other brands to aspire to. Combining modern marketing tactics, like influencer marketing, with traditional mediums, such as a billboard, they’ve been able to capture the attention and wallets of cord cutter generations.
2. Brands Are Taking a Harder Look at Influencers
Although marketers still predict growth in the influencer space, they are not nearly as bullish as they used to be, according to The CMO Survey. Influencers currently account for 5.6% of budgets, although marketers predict that will rise to 10.9% three years from now. For comparison, in 2020, influencer marketing spend was 7.5% of budgets, and marketers predicted it would rise to 12.7%.
Credit: The CMO Survey
The “less bullish” predictions for influencers suggest marketers are taking a harder look at these programs. At CBC, we’re seeing a higher demand for influencer marketing measurement and the ability to prove the value of influencer programs beyond vanity metrics. Moving forward, it’s going to be important that brands set up influencer programs in a way that directly ties back to business results.
3. Significant Resources are Being Poured into Data Analytics
As an agency with an entire team dedicated to data analytics, this is news we can get behind. While investments in digital marketing have increased across the board, data-related activities experienced the largest reported growth, increasing almost 40%.
Credit: CMO Survey
Of particular interest among marketers is investment into capabilities that will allow brands to analyze, store, manage, and automate their data. As data collection and purchasing becomes more complex, MarTech stacks are also becoming more complex and companies need the proper technology to keep up.
These Martech investments also signal a need for marketers to upskill. With an increased investment in analytics, there will be more pressure on marketers to communicate results to the C-suite. Marketing teams need to be able to interpret the data and prove to the CFO that their marketing campaigns are worth the investment.
4. Lead Generation and Inbound Marketing are Top of Mind
Beyond MarTech, brands are becoming hyper-aware of the importance of data. The CMO Survey found that 58% of marketers are creating stronger data strategies to capture better information, and 50% are investing in innovations to engage with customers directly in the wake of changes to third-party data.
At CBC, we’re seeing this trend as well. We’ve been working with clients to help them build a strong library of first-party data as we anticipate the loss of third-party cookies (thanks, Apple and Google!) We suggest marketers devote resources into building creative lead-generation campaigns to collect customer information, allowing them to then engage with them on owned channels like website, email, and SMS.
Remember: asking for personal information is a tall order. The most effective lead generation campaigns will offer something of value in return, such an ebook, discount, or other form of a “freebie.”
For example, for CBC client Scottish Rite Freemasonry, we created a printable Scottish Rite degrees poster to attract Freemasons to our campaign and to share their email address with us. These audience members are super fans of Freemasonry, eager to share and sport their Masonic affiliation, making it an attractive trade-off.
Example of lead generation campaign for Scottish Rite Freemasonry
5. Start Bragging About What Makes Your Product Better
B2C brands – listen up! 31% of marketers ranked “superior product quality” as the top customer priority – an increase from 0.0% in February 2020 to 39.3% for consumer packaged goods (CPG) specifically.
Credit: The CMO Survey
This trend aligns with the fact that consumers leaned into tried-and-true brand name products during their stress-induced pandemic shopping, pushing companies to shift funding away from innovation and into their core product lines.
If your organization isn’t necessarily a “tried-and-true” brand, consider refining your product quality messaging. In addition, it may be worth testing influencer campaigns that highlight product quality as a key selling point.
Especially as we think about the rising inflation in the U.S., it’s likely brands will soon have to go above and beyond to prove their product is worth every cent.