Is Your Marketing Plan Realistic?

May 17, 2018
Contributor: Chris Pemberton

Gartner surveys show gaps between marketing leaders’ strategic plans and their ability to execute.

CMOs allocated 9.2% of their total marketing expense budget to marketing analytics in 2017-2018 — the most of any capability — according to the 2017-2018 Gartner CMO Spend Survey. This indicates a strong desire to use analytics for understanding and optimizing marketing performance and generate insights that deliver results.

It also signals that CMOs are committed to putting significant resources toward delivering a customer-centric future. But do marketing leaders have the support in place to execute the key strategic priorities that deliver results? Strategic plans are only as good as the resources in place to support those plans.

“The single biggest gap in need is also the single biggest area of importance.”

Gartner Principal Analyst Anna Maria Virzi and VP Analyst Ewan McIntyre noted during their session at the Gartner Digital Marketing Conference 2018 in San Diego that notable gaps exist between intent and the capabilities needed to implement marketing strategies. Closing those gaps will help marketing leaders improve the execution and implementation of their strategies to ultimately deliver the results executives expect.

Marketing technology

Martech is a key enabler of marketing strategy, yet a majority of marketers reported they aren’t reaping the full benefits of their marketing technology investments. According to the 2017 CMO Spend and Strategy Surveys, marketing technology is 22% of the marketing budget, yet only half of CMOs say they effectively adopt and deploy marketing technology. To address this, assign ownership of the marketing technology roadmap to the marketing organization and empower the role to define and manage the portfolio of martech.

Read more: Pay Attention to These 6 Marketing Technologies in 2018

The CMO Spend Survey 2018-2019

What this year’s trends mean for marketers

Marketing skills

Seventy-four percent of marketers rate customer insights as very important, yet only 57% of marketers report that customer insight capabilities exceed expectations. “The single biggest gap in need is also the single biggest area of importance,” noted McIntyre. Skills critical to modern marketing, such as creativity, resourcefulness and adaptability, have double-digit gaps between their reported importance and current capabilities.

Multichannel marketing

Over two-thirds of marketers report a multichannel marketing maturity of level 3 or 4 (out of 5), yet only half have identified a multichannel marketing leader. Clear accountability and leadership for multichannel marketing is strongly associated with higher revenue growth and profitability. Eighty-five percent of marketers report choosing channels based on the cost-effectiveness of a channel rather than how the channel aligns to strategy or elements of the customer journey. Virzi noted that purely cost-based channel selection is likely not the best way to deliver multichannel success.

“Look at the top five areas of your marketing spend and think about how they align with and support your business goals,” said McIntyre.

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