Spend on marketing technology has fallen by 15% this year as chief marketing officers express concerns over their ability to manage the technology effectively, according to a report from Gartner.
The report, which surveyed 353 marketing executives in North America and the UK at companies with more than $250m in annual revenue, found that marketers spent 22% of their marketing budgets on technology this year, down from 27% last year.
"The challenge is that CMOs' ascent to their lofty technology role has been swift, and the learning curve has been intense,” Gartner analysts and report authors Anna Maria Virzi and Ewan McIntyre told CNBC. "Poorly selected, under-performing or underused marketing technology forces marketing teams and agencies to rely on manual processes, which hurts marketing efficiency and effectiveness. Significant investments need to prove business value, or else they end up being considered costly vanity projects.”
The report also found that marketing budgets have stalled in 2017 after three years of growth. This year, marketing budgets made up 11.3% of company revenue, down from 12.1% in 2016. One-third of chief marketing officers surveyed expect their budgets will be cut or frozen in 2018.
"While the descent is not yet steep, it still poses difficult questions for chief marketing officers," said McIntyre in a statement. "Previous budget increases have come with weighty expectations, some of which have yet to be met. The time has come for marketing to show its financial management credentials, proving it can deal with financial constraints, assume accountability for business performance, build budgets based on future returns rather than past assumptions, and grow the business while making hard choices."
More than two-thirds of CMOs expect to increase their investment in digital advertising, while 63% of marketers stated that they expect flat growth or cuts in offline.