Four in 10 top marketing executives say they are not well prepared to meet their objectives, citing a lack of funding and inefficient business practices as the main impediments to improved performance, according to global research by Accenture. The research also reveals a growing commitment to digital marketing and analytics capabilities to tackle an increasingly complex customer environment.
According to a new Accenture Interactive report, Turbulence for the CMO, 70 percent of the executives believe that corporate marketing will undergo a dramatic overhaul within the next five years and that their organizations must create a digital direction that will help them achieve higher revenue and increase market share.
"Marketing executives are growing increasingly concerned that tight budgets and the lack of a clear strategy for implementing digital technologies are hurting their company's ability to compete in the digital age," said Brian Whipple, global managing director of Accenture Interactive, in a news release. "There is a clear performance gap between the demands of the marketplace and the ability of marketing organizations to apply the digital technology talent required to be more effective."
The report shows that the need for change is being driven by increasingly demanding customers who expect more relevant interactions with brands. According to survey respondents, consumers' expectations for relevant, targeted experiences are having the greatest long-term impact on marketing strategy (65 percent).
Rising Investment in Digital Capabilities
As a response to these issues, significant steps are being taken to close the digital performance gap. The survey results show that two-thirds (66 percent) of marketing executives will be allocating at least one quarter of their budget to digital marketing next year, and nearly one-quarter (23 percent) say that more than half of their spend will be on digital marketing.
The survey shows that marketing executives also plan to invest more in their analytics capabilities, which are especially useful as the demand for multichannel marketing continues to increase. To help retain and grow their customer base, nearly half (48 percent) of the executives say they will spend more on managing customer data, 40 percent will increase budget spend on web analytics and 39 percent will spend more on marketing analytics. They are also taking a closer look at their use of marketing channels, ranking in-person contact with front-line employees, corporate website, media coverage and social media as the most important channels.
In order to obtain the greatest results, marketing executives say they are looking for more innovators—both by adding to their full-time staffs. Half of the executives said they would begin an internal reorganization to become more digitally focused, and more than half said they would be hiring more people with the necessary digital skills (52 percent) or providing their existing staff with digital training (55 percent).
"The growing investment in digital capabilities will help marketing executives improve their understanding of changing consumer needs and manage multiple channels," said Whipple. "However, improved performance will require more than new digital and analytics talent. The challenge of digital transformation is how to implement beyond marketing and across the entire enterprise."
Improved Internal and Agency Collaboration
While a majority (55 percent) of marketing executives said they were satisfied with the level of collaboration with their outside agencies, there is a disconnect between their expectations and results. Only one-third (36 percent) of marketing executives said that their agencies execute flawlessly, and 36 percent said that the agencies are not able to deliver what they promised. Additionally, only 44 percent said that agency partners help marketing executives transform their marketing organization, which is a clear goal for marketing executives in 2013.
The study indicates that for many marketers, improving collaboration between business units can help them achieve their targets. Nearly one in five executives (19 percent) said that inefficient business practices currently hinder their ability to improve marketing performance and return on investment, while 17 percent said a lack of funding hurts these efforts.
The 2012 CMO Insights Survey is the third in a series of global surveys sponsored by Accenture aimed at understanding the opinions, challenges and points of view of senior marketing executives from around the world. The results are based on 405 surveys across 10 countries with senior marketing executives. All respondents are from companies with at least $1 billion in annual revenues, with companies in France Australia, Singapore and Brazil all having an annual revenue of at least $500 million. Accenture conducted an online survey in August and September of 2012.