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Dentsu Aegis How brands win in the digital economy: Dentsu Aegis Network CMO Survey 2018

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Dentsu Aegis Network’s ‘CMO Survey 2018’, found that six in ten marketers expect marketing budgets to rise in the next twelve months.  But it’s budget increases among larger corporates that stand out, with 43% of respondents planning for increases of 5% or more and just one in twenty expecting to see budgets fall.  Confidence is highest among technology, automotive and financial services CMOs.

A major, global survey of 1,000 CMOs and senior-level marketers across ten countries by Dentsu Aegis Network has revealed that marketing investment is on an upward curve, as marketing’s role as the primary ‘growth antennae’ for organisations is strengthened by the use of data. CMOs are in a unique position to turn consumer insight into the next commercial opportunity and new sources of revenue.

Corroborating with the report, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Ghana, Andrew Ackah has acknowledged the dynamics of the industry and “how the survey will shape knowledge and practice, especially on the subject of innovation, which excites us”.

Dentsu Aegis Network’s ‘CMO Survey 2018’, found that six in ten marketers expect marketing budgets to rise in the next twelve months.  But it’s budget increases among larger corporates that stand out, with 43% of respondents planning for increases of 5% or more and just one in twenty expecting to see budgets fall.  Confidence is highest among technology, automotive and financial services CMOs. 

However, the survey also suggests CMOs are facing significant challenges as they attempt to balance the opportunity to build new capabilities and enhance their role, with the risks and challenges driven by data and the digital economy.  

Opportunities in data tempered with caution

The evolution of marketing data towards real people, building on digital proxies and broad customer segment data, is identified as the number one strategic opportunity for CMOs over the next 2-3 years, with 80% of CMOs also recognising its importance to effective customer engagement.

However, the findings also reveal a substantial degree of caution.  Suffering a data breach is now the leading strategic risk identified, while a high proportion of respondents (60%) believe that data protection legislation such as GDPR will make it harder to build direct relationships with consumers.

Digital commerce shaping how marketers approach partners and suppliers

Investment is expected to rise, but the survey reveals changing priorities, reflecting the increased focus on data as an enabler of growth.  Investment in digital media, in-housing of marketing capability and a growing role for specialists are all high on the investment agenda.

Innovation being over-looked?

Just over one-third of CMOs identify “leading disruptive innovation“ as one of their core functional priorities.  US CMOs are significantly more focussed on innovation (46%) while CMOs in the UK are well adrift of the international average (25%). 

Nigel Morris, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at Dentsu Aegis Network said:

“There’s a clear shift, as senior marketers adapt to a digital economy characterised by customer-led demand, near perfect competition and where competitive advantage rests in how well you know your customers.  CMO perspectives are moving away from short-term investment in tech, apps and platforms towards what really matters – digital transformation that orientates the whole business around customers. 

“Data is central to creating deeper customer relationships and understanding and the most successful marketers have recognised that the key to strategic business growth is in their hands.  This has the potential to transform marketing’s role as the architect of a business’s long-term vision.