US CMOs Rank Key Concerns

August 11, 2014

KornFerry-US-CMOs-Biggest-Concerns-Aug2014Asked to choose from 4 issues that keep them up at night, a plurality 34% of CMOs cite the creation of sustainable and engaging customer relationships and improving the customer experience as their top concern, according to data provided to MarketingCharts from a recent Korn Ferry survey.

Aside from this worry, CMOs also are concerned about staying ahead and taking advantage of digital technology trends such as social and mobile (27%), per the study, as well as by their (in)ability to demonstrate marketing’s ROI (26.5%).

The question of marketing’s value and ROI has been well-documented in research of late. For example, studies have found that:

Given all of that, 2 in 3 marketers responding to an Adobe survey last year agreed that there is now more pressure to show return on investment on marketing spend, with 8 in 10 feeling that it will be much (29%) or somewhat (50%) more important for their marketing function to prove business impact and/or ROI in the next 12 months.

Indeed, presented with 4 options and asked to indicate which they feel is the biggest contributing factor to low CMO tenure when compared to other C-suite functions, a majority 57% of respondents to the Korn Ferry survey indicated the primary reason to be an inability to directly connect marketing efforts to tangible business outcomes.

Meanwhile, other top concerns have also been cropped up in recent research. For example, two-thirds of CMOs surveyed by IBM for a study released last year said they feel underprepared for social media, and more than 8 in 10 feel unprepared for the explosion of data. And in a study released by PwC, US CEOs named tech advances the most externally disruptive business force. Notably, only 36% believed that the marketing/brand management function is “well prepared” to make the changes necessary to capitalize on the transformative global trends.

On a more encouraging note: while the CMOs responding to the Korn Ferry surveys are most concerned about customer relationships and experience, research also shows that customer experience is marketers’ most exciting opportunity this year. So there’s that…

About the Data: The Korn Ferry survey was fielded among 215 marketing executives.

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