Marketing budgets remain flat in 2023 having failed to climb back to pre-COVID levels. That’s one takeaway from Gartner’s latest CMO Spend and Strategy survey unveiled on the Gartner Marketing Symposium and Xpo in Denver. Another key finding was that 71% of CMOs consider they lack the budget successfully to execute this yr’s strategies.
Gartner cites recessionary fears, inflation and a talent gap as stoking concerns within the enterprise which have knock-on effects on marketing and marketing technology investments. Perhaps unexpectedly, although media allocation is flat, spending on digital channels actually showed a slight decline.
The state of martech spend. The bad news for the martech space is that a minimum of 75% of CMOs feel under pressure from other parts of the enterprise to cut their technology spending. The consolation is that 63% plan to resist the pressure, to some extent at the least, and grow their martech spending. But almost one quarter, 23%, do expect to make cuts.
CMOs do propose to increase social promoting spend, but among the many categories likely to take a success are search promoting, web optimization and digital OOH.
It’s crucial to “make a transparent value case for martech investment,” said Ewan McIntyre, chief of research for the Gartner for Marketers Practice, presenting the survey’s findings. He also said, using the analogy of a voyage, that what was needed was “not an even bigger boat, but a more efficient boat.”
Dig deeper: Digital ad spend growth drops to 7.8% this yr
Catalytic marketing. His comments reflected the outstanding theme of the Gartner keynote delivered by Lizzy Foo Kune, VP analyst and Carlos Guerrero, VP advisory within the Gartner Marketing Practice. They insisted that, despite pressures to realize growth in an uncertain environment, CMOs mustn’t take the familiar route of accelerating activity and taking up more projects.
They also questioned the worth of “customer obsession.” “Customer obsession goes too far,” said Guerrero, “to unprofitable extremes that customers find intrusive.” Rather than trying to meet customers in every conceivable channel, leveraging customer data to deliver countless relevant messages, the keynote speakers introduced the concept of “catalytic marketing.” Gartner data shows, they said, that more vital than quantity of engagement are experiences that bring about some change in the client.
In essence, catalytic marketing just isn’t about “more.” “Progressive CMOs are breaking free from the cycle of more by embracing catalytic marketing and, in the method, shifting from growing marketing’s scope to growing marketing’s success,” said Guerrero.
Why we care. The pressures on marketing and martech investment are clearly real. It’s an environment that demands efficiency and demonstrable ROI. The catalytic marketing concept needs to be fleshed out (an example they cited was L’Oreal’s Skin Genius experience); that’s the positive a part of the Gartner message.
The part that may be perceived as negative is the sense that attempting to develop a 360 degree view of the client and apply it to engagement on countless channels, may be counter-productive, despite the whole lot we’ve heard over the past few years.
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