December 7, 2023

CMOs 2023: Budgets, Challenges, Digital Transformation, and Skills

In the past few years, many industries have faced challenges. For marketers, their roles and skills requirements changed.

CMOs and Vice Presidents of marketing are at the forefront of this evolution. In our new research, The Marketing Evolution: Leadership and Transformation, Skills, Challenges, and the Future, we found that almost half of the senior marketing professionals report that their role has evolved over the last two years, while 53 percent spend significantly more money on digital channels.

Senior leaders are now business accelerators who drive revenue and growth. In addition, they need to retain and attract the necessary talent to compete with an increasingly competitive customer environment (with a focus on CX) and an e-commerce-driven landscape.

What are the biggest challenges that marketers face in an increasingly digitalized world?

What are the biggest challenges facing the marketing sector today?

Digital marketing is best when it uses all online and offline channels to engage and attract consumers. CMOs and other senior marketers face challenges as budgets tighten and senior management requests data for informed business decisions.

Four of the most common challenges that our respondents reported are discussed below.

Marketing budgets that deliver more significant ROI

Marketers can now measure their Return on Investments (ROI) more efficiently, thanks to the abundance of data they can access across digital channels. This also presents a challenge, as 20 percent of senior marketers rank delivering a higher ROI for their marketing budgets as the most critical issue.

ROI is significant because it can be used to assess the effectiveness and value of each campaign. They can then use this data to create and implement more effective campaigns in the future.

Showing your ROI is critical. It helps you get the buy-in of your leadership team if you have a solid plan to back up what you are doing.” – CMO United States, Technology Sector.

ROI is essential to many senior marketers because it allows them to make informed decisions about marketing strategies. It provides insights into customer behavior and shows the contribution of marketing to sales.

Download our whitepaper to learn more about the marketing channels that provide the best ROI.

Data-driven growth: Unlocking its power

Data is a valuable asset for marketers. Data provides insights into customers and offers ways to customize messaging and content. It also allows marketing teams to plan and implement targeted campaigns.

CMOs and senior marketing professionals need help because there is a lot of data, and it’s often difficult to know where and how to use it. The challenge for many smaller companies is accessing the talent needed to manage data and gain insights.

Did You Know? According to senior marketers, unlocking the power of data is their second most significant challenge.

The death of third-party cookies means organizations must find alternative ways to access customer data. Zero-party and first-party data are effective ways to achieve this. However, organizations must change how they think and provide value to encourage consumers to share their confidential information.

Attracting talent for the marketing team

There’s no secret about the global shortage of digital skills. In partnership with The Economist Group, we published a whitepaper highlighting how technology and talent are essential to marketing success.

This CMO report revealed a severe talent shortage, especially in these critical areas.

Unsurprisingly, most of these positions focus on improving customer experience or increasing visibility in a highly competitive online environment. Interestingly, general digital marketing is ranked second on the list of desired talents behind PPC, CX, and data analysis.

This is because many businesses have a limited budget or are smaller in scale. They need marketers covering multiple functions, from paid search and social media marketing to content marketing.

Integrating Digital & traditional marketing

There’s an integration need between digital and traditional marketing, no matter your industry. The customer journey must be seamless at every stage of the marketing funnel.

Omnichannel Marketing is becoming more and more critical for CMOs as a means to engage customers and retain them. One CMO from the charity sector said: “We need an increased understanding of the need to be digitally seamless and omnichannel-focused.”

While digital marketing dominated during the pandemic, there has been a return on investment to traditional marketing channels like print, radio, television, and outdoor advertising. According to the 28th edition of The CMO Survey, traditional advertising is expected to grow by 2.9 percent between Feb 2022 and March 2022.

This is a sign of a return in form for traditional channels, which can be combined with digital media using QR Codes and custom landing pages.

Marketing skills & digital skill shortages

In our whitepaper, both groups indicated a significant shortage of digital skills when senior and mid-level marketing professionals were asked to describe their workforce capabilities. The top three skills reported by these two groups were data analysts (47%) and general digital skills (37%), followed by UX designers (34%).

It’s a worldwide struggle as leaders try to attract new digitally-capable talent and retain their existing talent. Our analysis of digital skills and job trends shows this is an employee-friendly market with many opportunities. Additionally, many organizations will offer incentives and benefits to attract them.

Leaders face a new challenge: providing training to existing and newly hired staff so that they can perform better than their competitors.

There’s a need for highly-targeted training to ensure that people can do more than say the words. They must also be able to perform the tasks associated with those words. I see a massive gap between what people know and what can be done and what they want to be “accountable” for, VP of marketing, Marketing, Communications & Advertising. United States

What will marketing look like in 2023?

Marketers with up-to-date and relevant skills will have a bright future. As long as CMOs, and other senior marketers, have the right team, they can reap the benefits of their marketing efforts with a customer-focused approach.

Download our whitepaper “The Marketing Evolution: Leading, Transformation, Skills and Challenges” for a complete picture of challenges, budget changes, and the future for marketers.

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