5 Takeaways from the Latest CMO Survey

May 16, 2023

Table of Contents:

Marketers’ Roles and Responsibilities Expand

Marketing Budgets Remain Steady

Businesses Prioritize Top Marketing Talent

Organic Growth Strategies Reign Supreme

Emphasis on Social Media and Digital Marketing Continues

It’s here! The 30th edition of the The CMO Survey has been released and it’s brimming with marketing insights. If you’re not familiar with the survey, it’s released twice a year and led by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business marketing professor Christine Moorman to give an overview of what marketing leaders (97% VP-level or higher) at hundreds of for-profit companies across the US are doing with their marketing strategy. With 72 pages of insights, we’ve read through the report and put together the top five takeaways that your brand needs to know along with our team’s expert insights and relevant brand examples!

Marketers’ Roles and Responsibilities Expand

Over the last three years, the role of the marketer has remained steady in the realm of branding, advertising and digital marketing with CMOs citing each as a primary marketing responsibility. However, that’s not all marketers are hired to do. This year, three responsibilities were added to the list: talent acquisition and retention, sustainability and privacy. These roles are all synonymous with marketing objectives – displaying an outstanding company culture to attract and retain top talent, publicizing sustainability initiatives to make your consumer (the hero) feel good about choosing your brand and building strategies that address personal privacy/data and transparency.

Marketing Budget Spent on Digital Marketing

As we discussed in our recap of the 27th CMO Survey in 2021, marketers are increasingly getting a seat at the table to join in wider company conversations. For example, six percent of CMOs surveyed cited the creation of new products and services as a serious, top challenge to be faced over the next 12 months and 31.1% of CMOs cited products as a primary responsibility. This could be the fact that marketing departments typically have a deep understanding of the brand’s target audience – their wants, their needs and what drives their buying decisions, knowledge of competitive intelligence (55.9% of CMOs state this as a primary responsibility), marketing analytics and customer feedback (77% of CMOs) and marketing research (73.9%). The marketing team can share that knowledge with product development and learn the ins and outs of the product to position it, promote it and generate leads.

Marketing Budgets Remain Steady

How much should we be allocating to our marketing budget? This is a question we hear often and one that the CMO Survey answers in relation to overall company budgets and revenue. CMOs cited marketing expenses accounting for an average 12.3% of companies’ overall budgets, an increase of 4.3% from February 2022. This follows the anticipated budget increase marketers expected for 2023, but is down slightly from the original 13.8% forecast. The data can be broken down further into B2C Product marketing budgets at 17.8% of the total budget and 16.1% of revenue, whereas B2B Product is on the lower end.

Interestingly, smaller companies with less than 50 employees and revenue under $10 million spend the most on their marketing budgets as a percentage of company revenues and total budget than larger businesses do. Unsurprisingly, the industries funneling the most into their marketing include B2C Products and Services, followed by B2B Products and, finally, B2B Services.

With big budgets and big competition, the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry spends the most on marketing at 22.6% of their total company budget. With more consumers gravitating toward sustainability, there may be a link between CPG budgets and marketers’ role of promoting sustainability initiatives. As NielsenIQ finds, 46% of consumers expect brands to take the lead on creating sustainable change and want to see them follow through on the claims they make. From environmental well-being to personal wellness, other new product and marketing trends impacting CPG sales include an emphasis on items that are heart-healthy, plant-based, low-carb, dairy-free and keto.

Orange Label Marketing Prioritizes Top Marketing Talent

Businesses Prioritize Top Marketing Talent

When it comes to strategies that reign supreme, the vast majority of marketers cite that having the right talent on their marketing team contributes most to future organic revenue growth. Elements of a strong team that effectively pursues growth include:

Companies are interested in improving their marketing in the following areas:

With Orange Label’s expertise in strategy, data analytics and emerging technologies, such as AI tools to extract competitor details, assess outside industries and discover metric opportunities, our agency perspective is a solution to many of the areas for improvement.

Organic Growth Strategies Reign Supreme

In the balance between seeking new growth opportunities and reducing risk, more marketers are focused on improving their market penetration and releasing existing products/services into existing markets. Other lesser areas of focus for marketers across industries include: product/service development (19.6%), market development (16.3%) and diversification (6.5%). The outliers here, however, are B2C service companies who are focusing the majority of their efforts on introducing their existing products/services to new markets, a focus that is up 111.6% from February 2020. One example of this includes the health and fitness company Noom, which expanded their emphasis from weight management to behavioral change, and tackled the UK market after establishing a strong foothold in the US.

Emphasis on Social Media and Digital Marketing Continues

On average, companies spend 53.8% of their marketing budgets on digital marketing. Additionally, 61.2% of marketers across the B2B and B2C space report increasing the number of channels used, including returning to pre-pandemic face-to-face channels (56.9%), opening new face-to-face channels (28.2%) and using social channels to sell (45%).

Increasing Their Marketing Channels

In addition to an emphasis of selling on social media, companies are using various platforms to create awareness and build their brand following, followed by brand promotion, acquiring new customers, and introducing new products and services. Mixed social media strategies, including paid and organic posts, videos/reels/TikToks and infographic materials are ways that brands can boost engagement on social and, therefore, visibility against platform algorithms. With over half of consumers trusting influencers more than A-list celebrities, per Sprout Social, enlisting influencers that align with your brand values to create the type of content that they best create can have tremendous effect on your brand’s social presence. Two examples of this include Kate Steinberg, whose niche is early 2000’s nostalgia content comparing the 2003 trend of taking care of your virtual pet to a partnership with the pet wellness brand Made by Nacho, which specializes in cat-crafted cat food. Another example is our client – wellness tourism brand and specialty coffee company Greenwell Farms, who partnered with fitness/wellness content creator Hawaiian-native Leandra Rouse on her morning coffee as a mom of two. With new emerging platforms, Orange Label’s social media marketing expertise is a helpful resource for brands to build their social media presence and following, and, ultimately, use it to increase sales.

What marketing trends excite you the most? We were encouraged by the rise of selling on social media and inspired to see that sustainability remains ripe on the minds of other marketers as well as consumers. Are there any that you aren’t yet experimenting with? Contact us today to see how we can help: orangelabelmarketing.com/contact/.

Written By: Ashley Ruiz

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