CMOs Plan a Digital Overhaul for 2015

There’s a common big-ticket item on every marketer’s to-do list: Craft a more effective digital strategy.

That’s the biggest takeaway from the CMO Council’s eighth State of Marketing study, in which the group surveyed 525 marketers from across the globe about their failures and successes with budget and outreach, and their strategies for the upcoming year.

More than 70 percent of those surveyed revealed that only 10–30 percent of their budgets were allocated for digital strategy. But that’s about to change.

Sixty percent of respondents say that for the next 12 months, their number one goal is to implement a “digital marketing makeover” across platforms, programs, and staff. The top reason motivation for this is “improved efficiency and campaign effectiveness.” CMOs plan to pump funds into email, website design and development, mobile apps, lead management, and search marketing.

But while hopes might be high, funds and self-esteem remain somewhat low. Only 6 percent of those surveyed assign themselves an A-plus in the area of digital marketing performance, and 41 percent admit to feeling challenged with insufficient budgets and difficulties convincing higher-ups of the benefits of their campaigns.

In terms of data, 63 percent of respondents want to optimize their marketing efforts with customer segmentation and targeting, but only 6 percent see themselves as leaders in big data management. In fact, 62 percent say they are “just keeping pace or lagging behind competitors in their region or other parts of the world.”

These findings line up with Korn Ferry’s survey from last month, which identified CMOs’ top three concerns: creating sustainable customer relationships, taking advantage of digital trends, and demonstrating marketing’s ROI.

So, how can CMOs remedy these pain points?

1. CMO Council tops off the report with five tips on how CMOs can get ahead in the next 12 months. These tactics mostly include shifting internal office structure and getting on the good sides of CEOs and C-level colleagues, but they don’t mention the key factor that can help move these processes along: developing a stronger and smart content marketing strategy.

2. As The Content Strategist’s Natalie Burg wrote earlier this year, it’s not always easy for marketers to evangelize content within a company, but the payoff can be invaluable. For example, digital strategists at Marriott International were able to convince executive chairman Bill Marriott to start his own blog, eventually expanding the campaign into a multi-platform operation.

It’s no surprise that brands are looking to embrace digital; after all, leading media companies and branded content pioneers like BuzzFeed are betting that mobile, video, and robust CMS platforms are the future of branded content. Now, it’s just a matter of getting the implementation right. Check out our guides to the brand newsroom of the future (here and here) for one way to do just that.

Image by FooTToo

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