CMOs in the US have used the 18 months of operational disruption ushered in by the pandemic to accelerate digital transformation in their operations.
According to the latest Deloitte CMO Survey marketers have led digital transformations at 73 per cent of companies.
On the occasionally vexed question of who actually owns the transformation, Deloitte’s answer is “It depends.”
“Ownership of the digital transformation journey has been influenced by firm size, with firms of $500–999 million in revenue showing a high of 86.3 per cent leadership.
Clear and measurable business outcomes such as sales, increased revenue, volume, and profit trump improved customer experiences or organisation efficiencies when it comes to driving change. However, the authors do note a continuing emphasis on customer behaviour and customer experience.
Digital marketing continues to soak up an ever great share of the marketing budget. Spending reached 58 per cent of marketing budgets, representing a 15.8 per cent growth over the last year.
And in a nod to the increasing focus on brand purpose and the wider issue of sustainability, marketers also reported increased spending on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives which grew to 10 per cent of spending compared to 8.9 per cent in February of 2021.
“This 27th Edition of The CMO Survey finds that marketing leaders are taking on more responsibilities as their companies rise to meet the ongoing challenge of COVID-19 and associated digital and go-to-market opportunities,” the authors said.
Many companies heavily invested in the performance of their digital marketing activities, with website optimisation, digital media and search, and data analytics being the three most common activities undertaken in this area.
The most common marketing expenses within these company’s marketing budgets included direct expenses of marketing activities, social media marketing, and brand-related expenses as the three most common.
“Marketers report that superior product quality (ranked as the top priority by 32.0 per cent of companies), trusting relationships (18.1 per cent of companies), and excellent service (13.5 per cent of companies) will be their customers’ top priorities in the next year,” the authors said.
“Customer experience emerged as the top priority identified by consumer services companies, with three-fourths of marketers rating it their customers’ number one priority.”
With the pandemic forcing a shift to remote working, the survey found that the move will cause issues post-pandemic with one-third of companies expecting to lose employees who want to work from home full-time.
However, an increase in optimism for the US economy rebounded beyond mid-pandemic levels, returning close to pre-pandemic levels, reaching 69.6 out of 100 compared to 50.9 during the height of COVID in June 2020.