Digital marketing effectiveness and social media integration, measurement and alignment are the priorities for marketers seeking increased visibility and accountability, according to the latest State of Marketing Report from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, sponsored by Deloitte and OpenText.

At risk are agencies and resources failing to bring value-added thinking, innovation, or technical knowledge to the table, notes the CMO Council, a global affinity network of 6,000 chief marketers controlling more than $200 billion in annual spend.

Among the priorities, marketers intend to add a one-two punch of marketing analytics talent coupled with strategic planning and business development experience to better target, segment and then act on growth opportunities.

The global marketing leadership group with members in 110 countries surveyed over 600 of its members to gather insights and contributions for its seminal report, "The 2011 State of Marketing: Outlook, Intentions and Investments".

The fifth annual State of Marketing Report extracted a broad range of insights and views specific to mandates, spend, intentions and frustrations. Participants were drawn from each major region of the world and were representative of most vertical industry sectors and company sizes.

Almost 64% of respondents said they reported directly to the CEO, President or COO, while another 14% said they were accountable to a regional vice president, general manager or division/business group head. Among the respondents, 34% held CMO or Head of Marketing titles, while 33% held roles of Vice President or above.

Having felt the sting of flat or tight budgets over the past two years, marketing spend is being influenced by a shift to digital media and online marketing effectiveness, according to one in four marketers surveyed. However, only 5% of respondents give themselves high marks specific to current online marketing performance capabilities. To bolster capabilities, marketers surveyed are planning headcount increases in interactive design, online advertising, search engine marketing, web analytics, and integrated campaign management.

Cost cutting and operational efficiencies are also an important mandate for marketers participating in this survey. Specifically, some 64% of respondents will move to improve customer segmentation and targeting. In addition, according to the respondents, steps being taken to manage impact and value of marketing in 2011 include:

  • Investing in digital demand generation programs (43%)
  • Further qualifying and tracking the conversion of leads (42%)
  • Exploring alternative media and new routes to market (41%)
  • Upgrading the caliber and performance of the marketing organization (29%)

Interestingly, in lean budget years, marketers depended on testing and piloting campaigns to analyze potential modeling. In 2011, only one in four marketers surveyed plan on heavily piloting programs. Yet, marketers participating in this survey also indicate they will not be looking at programs that analyze or measure performance more effectively as only 18% plan to leverage eMetrics and other online performance indicators, only 15% will conduct statistical analysis and predictive modeling to measure impact, and only 12% will implement closed loop systems to monitor acquisition impact and effectiveness.

"While marketers have been focused on transforming their operations and customer engagements with hosted services and digital solutions, many have actually created a grab bag of siloed point-solutions that just proliferate Random Acts of Marketing," noted Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director of the CMO Council. "Today's successful marketing organization is unifying its extended ecosystem, aligning more effectively with business and sales groups, and integrating campaign components to drive efficiency and more measurable outcomes," added Neale-May.

Marketing, as a function, continues to reach beyond the borders of branding. CMOs surveyed indicated a growing authority in high-value areas, such as strategic planning and forecasting (74%), business development and collaborating (46%), pricing (36%), distribution/channel management (36%), and product design and specification (27%). This growing span of authority matches the rising expectations on the head of marketing to driving business growth and revenues. Among the top deliverables for marketing are driving top-line growth (46%), growing and retaining market share (45%), and further crystallizing and defining brand value (31%).

Cost cutting and operational efficiencies are also specific management mandates for marketers polled. In order to increase the impact and value of marketing, 64% of respondents say they will move to improve customer segmentation and targeting. This will be critical as marketers responding to the survey are also looking to further invest in digital demand generation programs (43%), further qualify and track the conversion of leads (42%), and explore alternative media and new routes to market (41%).

"Companies are focused on operational efficiencies. To improve ROI, we are seeing marketers leverage technologies to collect and analyze data, zeroing in on improved marketing performance," said Christine Cutten, Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and a leader in the marketing and brand effectiveness practice. "Early adopters are already leveraging advanced marketing analytics to help manage customers, markets and channels. As marketing evolves, we will likely see more use of advanced marketing analytics integrated into the marketing operational platform to enable delivery of optimized marketing strategies."

Marketers surveyed are also positive about budgets as 57% indicate an increase in this year's spending. In fact, 26% of marketers plan to boost budgets between one and five percent. While digital marketing and channel engagement will be drivers for marketers, digital media spend will likely represent less than 10% of expenditures, according to half of the respondents. Social media will likely be the biggest beneficiary of marketing allotments over 2010, with a majority of marketers increasing investments by over 5%. Other areas that may see greater than 5% increases in spend include:

  • Search Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Online Video
  • Online Banner
  • Mobile

Media bracing for cuts greater than 5% include print magazines, newspapers, television and outdoor/billboard placements.

Marketers surveyed intend to focus more attention on better measurement, as well as yield and monitoring of social media investments. Top platforms to be deployed over the year will include social network or online community building (35%), social media monitoring and data mining (34%), and social network and online sentiment tracking. In addition, investments will more likely be made to deploy lead management, campaign management, and web performance and collaboration systems.

Source: The 2011 State of Marketing Report