A newfound wave of optimism is sweeping through global marketing leaders, according to the CMO Council. A survey showed two-thirds expect to boost marketing spend through 2021 and a majority have ruled out the need to downsize or re-structure for the time being.
A focus on tech and automation
Having spent much of 2020 in managed decline, marketers are now chomping at the bit to resume a growth trajectory, with a CMO Council audit of 200 members finding that 65% aim to boost spending through 2021.
The sunny outlook highlights a clear direction of travel, with just 10% expecting to implement further cuts and 24% still unsure.
Behind this rosy disposition is a heavy investment in marketing technology, with 70% of respondents turning to automation to improve efficiency.
A broad consensus has emerged that the key to future success will be sourcing and harnessing customer data insights to implement more effective campaigns.
Confidence has become so widespread that the proportion expecting to downsize or restructure this year has fallen to a quarter. Pessimists are eclipsed by the 64% who have vowed to go for growth.
Marketing leaders are jostling to work more effectively – a factor singled out as the most important. Others aim to improve their tailoring of global and local campaigns in addition to trimming costs and driving efficiency.
The CMO Council audit found that a majority of marketers wish to optimise the customer journey, while over a third seek to enhance acquisition and conversion rates through improved data handling and digital innovation.
These priorities remain surprisingly robust irrespective of company size, region or business of operation.
Marketers want to drive digital transformation
Explaining this unanimity of thought, Manuel Hüttl, senior vice-president for Europe at the CMO Council, said: ”The most relevant and compelling areas of conversation among our members right now are all about ROI, efficiency and revenue optimization.
”This means being more focused on digital marketing transformation, creating value from customer data and upgrading customer engagement and experience.”
The report is the latest in a succession of surveys pointing to a recovery, with the only question being the strength and duration of the upswing.
Dentsu foresees a modest recovery in 2021 but does not expect global ad spend to return to its pre-pandemic peak until 2022. This followed a dismal conclusion to 2020 in the UK, where ad spend suffered another drastic contraction on the back of a third lockdown.