By Rama Ramaswami.
Despite budget limitations, CMOs expect to fuel growth by marketing to existing customers and boosting brand strength.
Marketers snapped into survival mode after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. They launched crisis-related communications to customers, canceled or delayed campaign launches, reduced contractor head count and halted long-term projects. Five months on, however, their actions are more deliberate and strategic, with an eye to business recovery.
“An important part of the plan for recovery is understanding the environment and building plans aligned to the new economic, social and business realities that emerge over the next 18 to 24 months,” says Ewan McIntyre, VP Analyst, Gartner.
In their responses to the annual Gartner CMO Spend Survey 2020-2021 — which polled 432 respondents in North America, France, Germany and the U.K. between March and May 2020 — marketing leaders reveal optimism tempered with prudence. Eight key findings of the survey offer insights into their budgets, strategies and growth priorities at a time of great upheaval.
- Midyear budget cuts loom as a direct result of COVID-19
- Marketing leaders expect a return to business as usual in the next 18-24 months
- CMOs are at odds with C-suite colleagues over economic recovery
- Most CMOs have a lower tolerance for risk than other leaders in 2020
- Existing customers drive recovery strategies
- Brand strategy is the most vital strategic capability
- Marketing technology withstands budget cuts
- Digital channel budgets are expected to increase in 2021