5 Takeaways from the Latest CMO Survey

April 13, 2022

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” This much-quoted line from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” applies not just to teenagers campaigning for a day off school without getting caught, but for marketers looking to keep up with critical marketplace trends and activities without getting lost. A compass on what’s going on in the B2B and B2C products and services industries, The CMO Survey is released twice a year with insights from leaders, like Ferris, from top U.S. companies. We pulled five major takeaways from the 93-page CMO report and paired them with our team’s insights to help you stay on track. 

First-Party Data to Come First Over the Next Two Years 

Spearheaded by Apple and Google, third-party cookies are anticipated to set sail. As a result, 74.8% of marketers plan to anchor their digital marketing tactics with first-party data. Two methods to accomplish this are as follows: 

  1. Creating a stronger data strategy to capture better information 
  2. Reducing internal data silos to generate a more complete view of consumers 

Other ways to acquire information from users voluntarily for first-party data, or “zero-party data” if you abide by the term, include: investing in innovations to engage with customers directly and offering customers incentives to provide access to their data. “Companies can hone in on their own assets through resources like emails lists and forums, such as the Sprout Social Community Hub, while maintaining third-party platform relevancy, like Facebook,” Orange Label Social Media Manager Chelsea Ragland shares. 

At Orange Label, we’re major advocates of acquiring data directly from the source. It’s built into our Approach with our “View From the Field,” in which we ask a series of insightful questions to a sample of a brand’s customers, prospects and external stakeholders to discover, first-hand, the benefits and feelings associated with their products and services. This candid research helps brands deepen relationships with these individuals and produce marketing that resonates with that audience.

Testing and Iteration to Remain Key in Digital Marketing 

Have you ever been served an advertisement that held no relevance to you? Research firm McKinsey reports that 71% of consumers expect brands to deliver personalized interactions and 76% get frustrated when they don’t. To bridge the gap between first-party data and dwindling third-party data, and personalize the communication experience, A/B testing messaging components is key. Testing can include email tone, language, imagery and time of send to increase click-through rates and see what resonates with your audience.

The power of A/B testing is something that 67.2% of marketers in The CMO Survey continuously rely on in their digital marketing. To ensure accuracy and effectiveness, there are parameters to follow when it comes to A/B testing. “Change one element at a time with split tests, such as the headline, color, copy line or a slight audience adjustment to really hone in and personalize the content,” Chelsea shares. “This digital testing can be a cost-effective way to determine messaging, creative and target audience before proceeding with programmatic ads or out-of-home (OOH) advertising.” 

Marketing Budgets and Revenues Rise 

For the second time in a decade, the yearly growth in marketing spend hit 10% and it’s predicted to show further lifts to 13.6% over the next year. CMOs say marketing is taking up more space in their overall budgets and reaching pre-pandemic levels. You can consider digital marketing as the Ferris of the family (sorry Jeanie) as it accounts for just under 60% of marketing budgets and is expected to grow by nearly 20% over the next year. The biggest digital spenders across industries include technology, mining/construction and education, while consumer services, energy and real estate are the lowest. Traditional advertising is not being left out, however, as it continues the upward trajectory established in the July 2021 CMO Survey.

Social Media Spend Projected to Increase at a Faster Pace

Marketers project that social media spend will continue increasing at a faster pace over the next five years across industries. B2C Product and Service companies are seeing the highest social media returns and predict to use nearly 33% of their marketing budgets on mobile activities in the next 12 months. Meeting consumers where they spend their time, Consumer Services, specifically, leads the way on social media spend with efforts at 31.2% of their current marketing budget. Here are two additional social takeaways to keep on your radar. 

A TikTok Snapshot 

While The CMO Survey doesn’t break down spending by social media platform, it may not come as a surprise that Semrush cited TikTok as the most downloaded app in the U.S. and worldwide with 68% of users viewing its ad content as being unique from other platforms. As for its Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS), Semrush finds that the average campaign saw two times the median campaign performance benchmark with ad recall at 24% for TikTok-specific branded content. Orange Label client Greenwell Farms is utilizing the platform to educate on the coffee growing process and entertain with farm beauty shots and places to visit on the Big Island. With 64% of users stating that they can be their true selves on the platform and 73% feeling a deeper connection to brands they interact with on there, it’s opened the doors to greater engagement and the opportunity to create more loyal fans. In line with B2C’s lead on social media spend, 67% of TikTokers say the app’s content inspires them to shop and 52% say they search for products or shop on the platform. 

A Pillar for B2B Strategic Success 

B2B Service Companies state social media marketing as a pillar for their companies’ strategic success. This link between marketing strategy and social media activities is likely influenced in part by employee advocacy. “On the B2B side of marketing, your employees are your best advocates. As strong representatives of your company, giving them a voice and the tools to be successful on platforms like LinkedIn is a win-win,” Chelsea shares.

Strategies that Orange Label takes to prioritize employee advocacy in digital marketing include cultural posts that highlight: team members’ work anniversaries (aka “OLaversaries”), life events and paid education opportunities offered by the company. Team members are also invited to share Orange Label branded content across their social media platforms and, with this environment, often do! This broadens the marketing reach in an organic way and strengthens the team. 

Marketing and Finance Leaders Continue Joining Together

Are marketing roles still taking on a higher level of importance since the last CMO Survey? Oh yeah. (Bow bow. Chick chicka). This is the case for 68% of CMOs surveyed, up from 62% in June 2020. The top three sectors pushing this change forward within their businesses are mining/construction, healthcare and consumer services. While the role of marketing didn’t grow in the educational field, the sector saw the highest marketing job growth next to banking/finance/insurance and technology. 

Compared to a year ago, marketing leaders also report a stronger alignment with finance leaders. Industries that are the most in sync include consumer services, pharma/biotech and energy. So far, teams who have been able to best tackle this cross-functional communication between CFOs and CMOs include companies with fewer than 50 employees. One cause for this partnership includes the need to align marketing spend with company objectives. To ensure marketing optimization between Orange Label and clients, highlights of performance reports on annual goals, KPIs/objectives and active projects, like SEO rankings and social media, are reviewed together and insight-based recommendations are provided. “When we met with Orange Label they came in prepared with research, data and ideas all geared toward our desires to expand our brand. The results have been great and our exposure has increased in various social media platforms,” one real estate client said. 

If you’re still here after reading all of these CMO Survey insights, you’ll love our upcoming podcast on the same topic with additional information provided by the Orange Label team! Sign up for our reminder newsletter below or follow us on social to be the first to listen when it goes live. If there are any specific questions you’d like covered in the podcast, feel free to send us an email at info@orangelabelmarketing.com. View the complete results from The CMO Survey, 28th Edition: February 2022, on cmosurvey.org/results

Written By: Michelle Komala
Contributors: Lily Rice

Recent blogs

Filter by

Get our content

The best two emails you receive each month – our 19-minute or less podcast and our marketing blog. If you love ‘em, let us know. If you don’t, easily unsubscribe! (And let us know, we love feedback.)