For the CMO: Getting Ready for a New Year

Chief marketing officers (CMOs) are deep in planning their marketing strategies for next year. Here’s what the latest research suggests CMOs should focus on.

Gartner just published is annual CMO spend survey, which is a worthwhile read for every chief marketing officer. Some insights from the latest round of results surfaced important themes marketing leaders should consider. As you sit down to evaluate your performance and map your team’s plans for the year ahead, lean into some insights from the top marketing minds at the world’s most successful brands.

Evaluate budget spend by category. Many marketing budgets are declining. However, others are just shifting around how they spend money. The goal is to be more strategic and lean into the channels that bring positive results for the company. As the CMO, ask your finance and data analytics team for the following information:

  • A copy of your total marketing budget, broken down by category;
  • A breakdown of results by category and channel, connected to the budget; and
  • An analysis of how each category contributed to growth and results this year and an assessment of how they align with next year’s key objectives.

Focus on digital advertising. Many CMOs reported there’s a shift underway toward increasing digital channels. For example, within advertising, many marketing leaders are prioritizing channels such as social media advertising, content promotion, and other online opportunities. As the consumer journey shifts online, are your strategic decisions reflecting that change?

Look for ways to prove results. Increasingly, organizations are looking to prove the results of their marketing efforts. CMOs must think ahead and find ways to demonstrate the impact of their work. This begins with a data strategy. Are you leveraging the return on investment (ROI)-focused tools that are available to you? Harnessing the power of data to shine a spotlight on your marketing returns can help make a powerful case for continued investment in the year ahead.

Define territory for experimentation. Marketing continues to evolve and become more sophisticated. Emerging platforms like virtual reality, chatbots, and AI are creating new frontiers for serving and connecting with customers. CMOs must be visionary about deciding which technologies and strategies they will try and should find avenues previously unexplored by the business. Experimenting with your marketing can help you identify new sources of customers, break ahead from the competition, and continuously redefine your brand in a constantly changing marketplace.

2018 promises to be an exciting year for business, with a healthy economy and many new marketing innovations on the horizon. CMOs who look ahead, understand the trends, and begin to explore how they can take their marketing to the next level will set a course for a profitable new year.