Marketing budgets have long been the first to be cut and last to be restored, but the annual Gartner CMO Spend Survey shows the extent of the damage: All nine of the tracked industries experienced budget cuts in 2021 and none saw 2021 marketing budgets top 9% of revenue.
The State of Marketing Budgets in 2021: Insights From Gartner’s Annual CMO Spend Survey revealed that marketing budgets as a percent of overall company revenue dropped to their lowest levels in history — to 6.4% in 2021 from 11% in 2020.
Amid economic uncertainty and a rapidly evolving business landscape, no marketing budget — regardless of company size or industry — escaped cuts in 2021.
Among the findings:
Travel & hospitality, manufacturing and media saw the most significant cuts to their marketing budgets — dropping 4.8, 6.9 and 6.2 percentage points, respectively.
Consumer products and goods (CPG) reported the strongest 2021 marketing budget at 8.3%, down 2.5 percentage points from 2020.
“The volatility associated with rapid digitalization of commercial activity and renewed commitments to customer centricity we’ve seen over the past year have forced organizations to shift budget for such activity outside the control of the CMO,” says Ewan McIntyre, Co-Chief of Research and VP Analyst, Gartner. “This has also altered how CMOs are prioritizing their spend commitments across channels and programs, as they try to reclaim cut resources to achieve their objectives while also justifying their ownership of both budget and delivery of critical business priorities.”