What Issues Are Keeping CMOs Up At Night?

January 16, 2019

This article is included in these additional categories:

Business of Marketing | Customer-Centric | Featured | Privacy & Security | Return on Investment

Marketers are faced with increasing pressure as their role expands and grows. But which issues are keeping the most CMOs and brand managers up at night? As it turns out ROI, big data and the need to establish consumer trust are in the heads of at least 95% of CMOs and brand managers, according to survey results from Brand Keys.

The brand consultancy interviewed more than 500 CMOs and brand managers, asking the question “What issues keep you up at night?” Some 20 issues were cited by at least three-quarters of the respondents, showing that marketers do indeed have a lot of pressures placed on top of them.

ROI is mentioned as a problem area by virtually all (97%) participants. Measuring ROI has been an issue that CMOs have been struggling to get a handle on. During the first quarter of 2018, CMOs reported that their quantitative measuring of ROI was improving, although there has since been evidence to the contrary.

Meanwhile, previous research has shown that more than two-thirds (68%) of US adults say that trust in a brand has a great deal of influence when making a large purchase decision, but trust in business as an institution tends to be low. This may explain why “establishing trust between my brand and the consumer” is another top issue, identified by 95% of respondents.

Privacy and Transparency A Major Concern

When ROI and brand trust aren’t keeping CMOs and brand managers up at night, concerns about privacy, transparency and managing customers’ expectations of these two critical components are in the foreground, cited by 9 in 10 of CMOs and brand managers.

That’s likely to be expected given that privacy concerns are running high among US adults. While data-driven marketing presents a huge opportunity, CMOs the world over also see data privacy as their biggest strategic risk.

Keeping Promises Leads to Customer Trust

A study of 6,000 consumers showed that Millennials are more skeptical then Gen Xers and Boomers when it comes to brand promise. Some 56% of Millennials believe that brands rarely live up to the promises they make. However, Boomers are less likely to buy from a brand which hasn’t lived up to their promises than other generations.

Growing consumer expectations and gap between brand promise and expectations are a marketing nightmare for some 8 in 10 marketers surveyed by Brand Keys.

Will Chief Revenue Officers Take Over from CMOs?

For years, there has been a disconnect between CMOs and CFOs on the importance and values of marketing. Collaboration between the two departments has also been hindered by various factors.

While not in the top 10 concerns, this could be why there is angst among three-quarters of CMOs and brand managers, who worry that they may be replaced by the Chief Revenue Officer.

Other insomnia-inducing concerns listed by the study include:

  • Developing a long-term strategy that aligns with corporate growth goals (80%);
  • Ability to engage my audiences, not just identify and find them (80%);
  • Keeping consumers engaged with my brand (75%); and
  • Creating marketing synergy among different generational age cohorts (75%).

About the Data: The results are based interviews with 558 CMOs and brand managers.

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