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STAMFORD, Conn., June 17, 2020

Gartner Highlights Three Ways CMOs Can Eliminate Marginal Programs, Platforms and Partners

Marketing Leaders Should Employ these Strategies to Focus on Investments with Optimal Marketing Impact

In today’s current environment with the COVID-19 pandemic, chief marketing officers (CMOs) must focus on high-impact initiatives and eliminate marginal programs, platforms and partnerships that no longer serve the organization, according to Gartner, Inc. In fact, a Gartner, Inc. poll of 176 marketers on March 20 showed that 65% of marketing leaders report that COVID-19 would significantly or moderately decrease their marketing budgets.

“Given the current uncertain and volatile climate, CMOs are under increased pressure to make every investment and every resource count,” said Chris Ross, vice president analyst for Gartner for Marketers. “Delivering value means maintaining clarity and focus, despite the frantic pace and complex conditions. Marginal activities are created or tolerated because organizations lack the discipline to regularly put all programs, tools and partnerships on the table, and objectively review which are making optimal marketing impact and which are dead weight.”

To do this, Gartner recommends that CMOs take the following actions:

  1. Pare down programs. Marginal programs may provide some positive return, which keeps them from being cut or eliminated. However, a program that looks like a positive performer may be consuming a disproportionate amount of resources or have significant opportunity cost. “Evaluate everything with a discerning eye to determine whether the continued investment in time and resources is justified,” said Mr. Ross.
  2. Start with a “use it or lose it” mindset for martech investments. According to Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey 2019-2020, marketing leaders invest nearly one-third of their overall marketing expense budgets in marketing technology. However, they are using less than 58% of their martech stack capabilities. This contrast between strong investments and underutilization signals a huge resource drain. Adopt a “use it or lose it” mindset by cutting technologies that are either no longer in use or are underused.
  3. Re-evaluate partner relationships. Marketing agencies, consultancies and other marketing service providers continue to play an essential role in supporting most marketing organizations. However, it’s possible for partnership portfolios to contain marginal partners, creating a burden on budgets and resources. Narrow the marketing team’s scope of work by clarifying and prioritizing what’s most worthy of investment.

Additional details will be presented during the Use Intelligent Cost Optimization to Maximize Marketing Budget webinar on June 8, 2020 at 11:00 AM EDT. The full report is available to Gartner for Marketers clients in "The CMO’s Guide to Eliminating Marginal Programs, Platforms and Partners."

Learn more about how to lead organizations through the disruption of coronavirus in the Gartner coronavirus resource center, a collection of complimentary Gartner research and webinars to help organizations respond, manage, and prepare for the rapid spread and global impact of COVID-19.

About Gartner for Marketers

Gartner for Marketers provides the objective, expert advice and proven tools that CMOs and other marketing leaders need to seize the right opportunities with clarity and confidence, and to stay ahead of the trends that matter. With in-depth research and analysis, Gartner for Marketers helps you focus on the opportunities with the greatest potential to deliver results. More information on Gartner for Marketers is available online at www.gartner.com/marketing.

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world’s leading research and advisory company and a member of the S&P 500. We equip business leaders with indispensable insights, advice and tools to achieve their mission-critical priorities today and build the successful organizations of tomorrow.

Our unmatched combination of expert-led, practitioner-sourced and data-driven research steers clients toward the right decisions on the issues that matter most. We are a trusted advisor and an objective resource for more than 14,000 enterprises in more than 100 countries — across all major functions, in every industry and enterprise size.

To learn more about how we help decision makers fuel the future of business, visit gartner.com.

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