All signs point to 2020 being a complex, challenging year. The economy has been doing well, but there’s more and more talk of an upcoming recession. There’s a big and likely hotly contested presidential election around the corner. And the federal deficit is the largest it’s ever been. Where and how should marketers focus the rest of their time and resources? Content marketing company Newscred was wondering the same and, in January, commissioned Sirkin Research to survey marketers about their campaign budgets, planning, as well as performance, marketing team morale, and resource measurement. Newscred talked with almost a hundred senior marketing executives at companies with more than $1 billion in annual sales. This is what they learned.
The study confirmed what had already been discovered in earlier research, namely that ROI (return on investment) is a top priority and concern, not just among marketers but also senior staff. On a scale of one to five, with five being the highest, demonstrating the business impact of marketing efforts came out on top among the nine areas surveyed, with 4.51. 90% of marketers cited it as their highest priority, with more than 60% conceding to lots of pressure from their CEO and/or board. The next four were maximizing the marketing budget (4.26), speeding up execution of the campaign and production of content (3.92), improving the process for marketing planning (3.85), and increasing sales (3.62). Rounding off the bottom of the list were improving resourcing capabilities like time allocation (3.62), improving the content or brand governance (3.57), and increasing visibility of the strategic plan across all marketing teams (3.52). Improving the morale of the marketing team clocked in last, at 3.49. If marketers who face the same pressure were to get everyone at the table to all agree on one benchmark, it would make life a bit easier for marketing departments. Reaching a consensus would enable marketers to focus on this standard and report regularly on its progress.
Although it ranked second as a priority, 100% of marketers surveyed also identified this as one of their primary 2020 marketing initiatives. Budgets never seem to be big enough, and trying to get the most of any budget has always been a priority. A separate survey of CMOs in December 2019 by Pan Communications identified content as the primary budget focus, as well as a challenge. To maximize their budgets, CMOs need to first analyze where and when they’re currently investing their funds. There are centralized marketing platforms available that look at and compare costs to results.
61% of marketers concurred that speeding up campaign execution by improving the planning process was also a priority. Time to market has always been critical to CMOs who need to circulate material to different departments for review and approval before moving forward. Marketers facing such a challenge might look into the different marketing work management platforms available in the marketplace and consider investing in one to reduce the time spent under the current method of circulating, tracking and accelerating content review.