Brand Leaders Cite Paid Media’s ROI, But Also Its Resource Intensiveness

September 30, 2020

CMOCouncilCision Media Channel ROI and Resources Sept2020Some 85% of brand leaders say that their paid media performance is at least somewhat important to them. And, while one-third feel that paid media provides the most return of investment (ROI) compared to owned media and earned media, a plurality (45% share) also believe it requires the most resources, per a new report [download page] from CMO Council and Cision.

When considering the media channel that has the most ROI, owned media edges out paid, with 36% of those surveyed saying they get the most ROI out of media such as their branded websites, email and social media accounts. Nearly all respondents ranked their performance in owned media as at least somewhat important, including 6 in 10 (61%) saying it’s very important. Only one-quarter cite owned media as requiring more resources than paid or earned media.

A comparatively low share of brand leaders also say that earned media requires the most resources (29%), but a relatively small share also say that it provides the most ROI (31%). This is as other research has shown that communications professionals indicate that they could do better when it comes to their current earned media analytics capabilities. However, when asked how effective they are at taking advantage of earned media to drive customer experience and engagement strategies, close to two-thirds say they are very (12%) or somewhat (52%) effective at integrating and amplifying their earned media.

Aligning Marketing and Communications

A lot of attention is paid to the alignment of marketing and sales, but what about marketing and communications? As it happens, respondents indicate that insofar as being aligned on media output, they are doing rather well. Some 9 in 10 say these departments within their organization are either strongly (44%) or moderately (47%) aligned on earned media output. Similarly, they report that they are strongly (42%) or moderately (51%) aligned as it relates to owned and paid media output.

That’s not to say that marketing and communications do not face challenges. Much like the divide between sales and marketing, communications and marketing alignment is challenged by functional silos (49%). Others cite the hindrances of having different KPIs and objectives (43%) and reporting lines/processes (39%).

But even with these challenges, there is some good news. Seven in 10 either agreed (41%) or strongly agreed (30%) that leadership, marketing, and communications are aligned in strategic media activities.

What Helps Drive Alignment?

In order to drive alignment between marketing and communications, respondents are implementing various processes internally. More than three-quarters (77%) say they are implementing cross-functional team meetings, while 63% say they are carrying out integrated campaigns. And, with different objectives being one of the top challenges faced in alignment, some 57% say they are implementing shared goals/metrics to help drive alignment.

Technology also comes into play. A full 70% of brand leaders surveyed say they are leveraging marketing analytics, performance and attribution to further drive cohesion. Others are using social media marketing and monitoring (63%) or content marketing (50%) technologies, while some are opting for mobile and web analytics (46%).

For further reading, an executive summary can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a global survey of more than 150 brand leaders from B2B (50%), B2C (12) and hybrid (38%) companies, more than half (53%) of which are headquartered in North America.

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