Monday, April 6, 2009

What CMOs Are Saying: Part III

APRIL 6, 2009

Marketing dollars get tight, but don’t disappear.

A number of reports, and many media articles, say the sky is falling on marketers—and ad dollars are evaporating.

The annual “Marketing Outlook” study, from the CMO Council, doesn’t agree.

Following What Are CMOs Thinking? and More About What CMOs Are Thinking, this, a third survey of CMOs, found that, despite the economy, marketers see budgets holding up fairly well and tightly controlled dollars going to growing and retaining market share.

But isn’t that where marketing dollars always go?

Yes, but as the report states: “Marketing, we are happy to report, is not running scared from the economy by slashing budgets and headcount. Instead, marketing is getting back to our key function: driving business and opportunity to sales and owning the customer experience.”

The pressure is on, however, for marketers to contribute to the bottom line. Management is demanding that marketers grow market share and improve operational efficiencies. Read: more accountability.

That is probably why Website development and digital marketing topped the list of agency changes for 2009.

“Digital marketing has moved well beyond search as social media and experiential marketing continue to grow and evolve,” said Dave Couture of Deloitte Consulting LLP, one of the sponsors of the report. “Savvy marketers are applying collaboration marketing methods as a central component of their efforts to maximize customer lifetime value in the digital economy.”

One-half of the global marketers surveyed claimed they were either holding firm on budgets or anticipating increases. Nearly one-third planned small budget increases, and 8% expected increases of more than 10%.

On the other hand, nearly one-half said they would decrease spending, with 19% expecting cuts of more than 15%.

In fact, when asked pointedly how economic conditions were influencing their budgets, 34% of the marketers said they were sharpening focus and reducing spending.

As noted above, however, not everyone shares the relatively rosy outlook of the marketers surveyed by the CMO Council.

In an article in Brandweek, Marc Babej of the marketing consultancy Reason inc. said, “Marketing budgets in many, if not most categories, are subject to cuts and in many cases they are deep cuts. That’s just the reality. Marketing positions are being cut too, absolutely.”

He believes that many marketers are simply “putting on a brave face.”

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